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North Wales PEEL 2017


How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?

Last updated 22/03/2018

North Wales Police is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime, and it has maintained a stable level of performance since our 2016 effectiveness inspection.

Os hoffech chi ddarllen hwn trwy’r Gymraeg (PDF document)

The force’s initial investigative response is effective. It conducts thorough telephone investigations and investigates cases of fraud well. Most high-risk and complex cases are dealt with by specialist investigators. The force generally conducts thorough investigations, leading to satisfactory outcomes for victims. There is regular supervision and monitoring of cases. The force’s investigative capacity is sufficient to cope with demand, and it is good at keeping victims updated throughout the investigation. However, not all investigators receive regular continuing professional development.

North Wales Police makes reasonable use of a variety of approaches to offender management and achieves reductions in re-offending. However, it is not always good at taking effective action to locate outstanding offenders. HMICFRS also found the force does not always contact Immigration Enforcement to verify the identity and nationality of arrested foreign nationals.

The force has a clear definition of what vulnerability is, and officers and staff understand how to protect people who are vulnerable. It demonstrates a good understanding of the nature and scale of vulnerability, developed in conjunction with partner organisations (such as local authorities, or health and education services) and should develop this joint understanding in respect of hidden demand. The force identifies vulnerable and repeat victims and assesses the risk to victims well. Good quality assurance processes ensure that handovers are effective, and that all immediate safeguarding actions are undertaken.

The force investigates offences involving vulnerable victims to an good standard and it has sufficient capacity to ensure that specialist investigations are allocated to suitably skilled investigators. Cases are supervised closely, to identify risk and vulnerability, and it has adequate safeguarding arrangements in place for the most vulnerable people. However, the force needs to ensure that all high-risk domestic abuse cases are referred to multi-agency risk assessment conferences so that all victims receive the support they need. The force is sufficiently prepared to manage the risk posed by dangerous and sexual offenders.

North Wales Police has the necessary arrangements in place to fulfil its national policing responsibilities.

Questions for Effectiveness


How effective is the force at investigating crime and reducing re-offending?


North Wales Police is good at investigating crime and reducing re-offending. The force conducts initial investigations well, using a clear, structured process.

It investigates fraud well, and trains call handlers to identify fraud cases at initial contact. Since February 2017, the force has investigated some cases over the telephone, which is an appropriate way to resolve many less serious crimes.

The force has improved how it allocates crimes for investigation. It now assigns most complex cases to specialist investigators. Progress since our 2016 inspection includes:

  • introducing a financial abuse safeguarding officer, to identify fraud victims at the earliest opportunity; and
  • promptly allocating all crimes to appropriately trained investigators.

Investigations and handovers are good. The force now trains specialist investigators specifically for the activities they undertake. This is a mark of good progress since 2016. The force seeks the views of victims, and supports fraud victims well – in particular, offering responses tailored to needs of elderly fraud victims.

The force is reducing re-offending and uses established integrated offender management schemes. However, its approach to re-offending still requires improvement, especially in:

Areas for improvement

  • The force should ensure that all specialist staff have the opportunity to undertake continuous professional development to be able to fulfil their investigative and safeguarding responsibilities well.
  • The force should ensure the swift location and arrest of those that are circulated as wanted on the police national computer, who fail to appear on police bail, named and outstanding suspects and suspects identified through forensic evidence.
  • The force should ensure that all arrested foreign nationals are referred to immigration enforcement to verify their identity and nationality.


How effective is the force at protecting those who are vulnerable from harm, and supporting victims?


North Wales Police is good at protecting vulnerable people and supporting victims. Officers and staff understand the force’s approach towards vulnerability. They are good at identifying vulnerable victims at intial contact, and call handlers use a structured risk assessment process.

The force uses analysis from partner agencies to:

  • understand the nature and scale of vulnerability and could further develop its joint understanding of demand;
  • develop profiles of victims of domestic abuse; and
  • develop assessments of child sexual exploitation, knife crime and mental health.

The force shares its safeguarding information with partner agencies, and works well with them to:

  • safeguard vulnerable people;
  • arrest those who exploit vulnerable people; and
  • develop its understanding of modern slavery.

The force’s recording of cases involving poor mental health is limited by its command and control system. It accepts this is a problem and is upgrading the system.

Our principal concerns about the force’s protection of vulnerable people are its:

  • high use of section 136 of the Mental health Act, especially for detention of children; and
  • failure to refer all high-risk domestic abuse cases to a multi-agency risk assessment conference (MARAC).

The force manages sex offenders effectively through multi-agency public protection arrangements.

Areas for improvement

  • The force should ensure that all high-risk domestic abuse cases are referred to MARACs, so that victims receive the support they need.


How effective are the force’s specialist capabilities?


Overall North Wales Police has effective specialist capabilities.

National threats often require forces to work together, across force boundaries. These threats include terrorism, large-scale disorder and civil emergencies. We examined the capabilities in place to respond to these threats, in particular a firearms attack.

Most positively, the force:

  • works with external organisations to develop its capacity to respond to national threats;
  • tests its skills and capabilities in training exercises; and
  • works constructively with Cheshire Constabulary to protect communities from the criminal use of firearms.

However, the force:

  • should set out its understanding of the criminal use of firearms in a joint threat assessment with Cheshire Constabulary.