South Wales 2017Read more about South Wales
This is HMICFRS’ fourth PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of South Wales Police. PEEL is designed to give the public information about how their local police force is performing in several important areas, in a way that is comparable both across England and Wales, and year on year. The assessment is updated throughout the year with our inspection findings and reports.
The extent to which the force is effective at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.
The extent to which the force is efficient at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.
The extent to which the force is legitimate at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.
Wendy Williams, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary
Read my assessment of South Wales Police below.
I am pleased with the performance of South Wales Police in keeping people safe and reducing crime.
The force has a comprehensive understanding of vulnerability and responds well to victims, demonstrating a consistent approach to safeguarding. The force investigates crimes involving vulnerable victims well, working effectively with other public sector organisations.
The force has made concerted efforts to improve the accuracy of its crime recording and has a commitment to victim-focused ethical recording, free from performance pressures.
The force continues to build on its understanding of current and future demand, and has a comprehensive picture of the operational skills of its officers and staff. It has sound investment plans aimed at improving the provision of its services.
The force has a good ethical culture whereby leaders promote awareness of the importance of treating people with fairness and respect. However, it needs to improve aspects of its complaints procedure and ensure it refers relevant cases to the Independent Office of Police Conduct.
Overall South Wales Police has consolidated its standard of good performance since last year’s assessment.
How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
South Wales Police is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. The force has performed consistently well in our effectiveness inspections and its progress is positive.
The force has a comprehensive understanding of vulnerability and the workforce is well equipped to identify the signs that indicate that a person may be at risk of harm. The force assesses all calls to its public service centre to identify the threats and risks that callers may be facing, which helps it to provide a response in accordance with individual need.
South Wales Police responds well to vulnerable victims and we found that call handlers, frontline officers and staff take a consistent approach to safeguarding vulnerable people. The force makes good use of powers of arrest and other legal provision to protect victims of domestic abuse and makes sure that they receive safeguarding support. However, it needs to do more to support those experiencing a mental health crisis when they first contact the police.
The force has established productive working relationships with a range of other public-sector organisations in South Wales. For example, ambulance staff work alongside police call handlers to ensure that callers receive a service that is suitable for their needs. It also has established arrangements with other organisations to ensure that vulnerable people have access to specialists in victim support.
In general, the force investigates crimes involving vulnerable victims well. However, we found a small number of stalking and fraud enquiries that were not of a satisfactory standard; the force was aware and had plans in place to address this.
South Wales Police has the necessary arrangements in place to fulfil its national policing responsibilities and to respond effectively to an attack requiring an armed response.
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
South Wales Police is judged to be good in the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. Our overall judgment this year is the same as last year. The force is judged to be good in its understanding of demand; its use of resources to manage demand is assessed to be good; and its planning for future demand is also judged to be good.
South Wales Police has continued to build on its strong understanding of the demand on its services. It places this understanding at the heart of how it operates, how it plans and works with other organisations to identify, predict and tackle demand, and how it deploys its resources to meet demand. South Wales Police has developed strong collaborative working arrangements with other police forces, the private sector and local communities to deal with demand more efficiently. It is planning actively for how it will work in the future, and takes account of public satisfaction in these plans.
The force has systems in place to understand both the capabilities and gaps of its workforce, enabling it to direct its resources to meet current demand in most instances, and to allow for longer-term planning and deployment of its resources. It has a good understanding of the operational skills of its officers and staff, but has limited understanding of its leadership skills. At the time of our inspection, the number of abandoned calls made by the public to the force each month was too large. The force is aware that recent changes to improve its service have affected the balance between the demand for non-emergency call-handling and the number of call-handlers within its control room. It has taken some steps to address this in the medium term through technology; it now needs to consider introducing measures to address the number of abandoned calls, in order to provide the standard of service the public expects. As a result, chief officers have commissioned a comprehensive review of the demands on the public service centre to seek ways of tackling demand at first point of contact that are more efficient and to offer alternative methods of contact, while continuing to provide a high standard of service to the public.
The force’s investment plans should lead to greater efficiency and bring about improvements to the provision of its services. While the force is able to articulate the cost savings acquired from collaborative working it cannot, on the whole, demonstrate other benefits of collaborative working, or explain why it chooses to work with certain organisations and not others. Although the force is currently showing a gap in its budget from 2017/18 onwards, it has several contingencies in place, such as increasing the precept on council tax, and these contingencies should cater for any shortfall.
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
South Wales Police is judged to be good at how legitimately it keeps people safe and reduces crime. For the areas of legitimacy we looked at this year, our overall judgment is the same as last year. The force is judged to be good at treating all of the people it serves with fairness and respect and at treating its workforce with fairness and respect. It is judged to be requiring improvement in the extent to which it ensures its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully.
South Wales Police is judged to be good overall in respect of how legitimate it is at keeping people safe and reducing crime. HMICFRS is pleased to see that the force has acted on previous areas for improvement and that its leaders demonstrate a real commitment to ensuring the workforce understand the importance of treating the people it serves with fairness and respect. The force has a range of monitoring and scrutiny functions, although some of these would benefit from greater independence.
The force continues to demonstrate that it has a good ethical culture, with officers and staff throughout the organisation taking an ethical approach to decision making. It provides easy channels through which the public can complain about the force, but needs to improve the extent to which complainants are kept informed of the progress of their complaint. South Wales Police provides its workforce with the skills needed to identify and investigate discrimination; however, the force needs to ensure that it refers cases to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) where appropriate, and that all investigations are carried out to a satisfactory level, including providing an acceptable service to complainants.
The force’s leaders are fully committed to the wellbeing of the workforce; the force is building on the excellent foundations that we noted last year, introducing new initiatives that actively promote healthy lifestyles, and providing support to those who need it. However, it needs to do more to encourage black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) representation across the workforce, and more to ensure that the new appraisal process is understood and valued by everyone. The force has worked hard to develop a fair approach to the selection for leadership roles of officers and staff at all levels, and is considered by the workforce to be open and fair.
How well has the force performed in our other inspections?
In addition to the three core PEEL pillars, HMICFRS carries out inspections of a wide range of policing activity throughout the year. Some of these are conducted alongside the PEEL inspections; others are joint inspections.
Findings from these inspections are published separately to the main PEEL reports, but are taken into account when producing the rounded assessment of each force's performance.
Abuse of position assessment – South Wales Police – published on 5 October 2017
South Wales Police: Crime Data Integrity inspection 2017 – published on 28 November 2017