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South Yorkshire 2017

Read more about South Yorkshire

This is HMICFRS’ fourth PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of South Yorkshire 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 requires improvement.

The extent to which the force is legitimate at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.

Matt Parr, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary

Contact Matt Parr

HMI's observations

Read my assessment of South Yorkshire Police below.

I am satisfied with most aspects of South Yorkshire Police’s performance in keeping people safe and reducing crime. The force has made progress but needs to address the areas of concern that we have identified.

I am reassured to see improvements since our last assessment, including:

  • neighbourhood policing, with progress in preventing crime and problem solving;
  • how it investigates crimes; and
  • the fairness and respect with which it treats the people it serves.

However, I am concerned about the force’s ability to respond to vulnerable people and I continue to have concerns about:

  • its understanding of the skills and capability of its workforce to match resources to demand;
  • the lack of alignment between its financial plans, workforce plans and future operating model; and
  • the wellbeing support it provides to its workforce.

I am pleased to see that the force has an improved understanding of its demand, although this has yet to fully inform the force’s operating model.

Overall, I am pleased with the improvements South Yorkshire Police has made, and expect the force will continue to make progress in the year ahead.


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

Last updated 22/03/2018

South Yorkshire Police is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. Since HMICFRS’ 2016 effectiveness report, the force has made progress in several areas. HMICFRS is pleased to see the positive effect recent improvements have had across the force, particularly in neighbourhood policing and investigations. Further action is needed to ensure the force is providing all vulnerable people with an effective service.

South Yorkshire Police is effective in its approach to reducing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe. The force has invested further in its neighbourhood policing and safer neighbourhood services, working jointly with partner organisations (such as local authorities, or health and education services). It is good at tackling crime and anti-social behaviour through joint problem solving and the use of tactics and interventions. The force evaluates most local problem-solving activity but it does not yet have a full understanding of the overall effect of its crime-prevention activity across the force area.

South Yorkshire Police is generally good at investigating crimes. The force effectively investigates some crimes over the telephone, through its new crime support hub and its dedicated investigation teams. However, we found that some initial evidence gathering is adversely affected when officers are not able to respond promptly enough. The force achieves good investigative outcomes (such as charge or no further action) and appropriate arrangements are in place to prevent re-offending, although it could do more to understand how effective these are.

The force must improve its ability to protect people who are vulnerable through their age, disability, or because they have been subjected to repeated offences, or are at high risk of abuse, for example. The force responds well to immediate calls for service from those people who are vulnerable, but we are concerned that, due to increased demand, it cannot respond to all priority calls in a timely way. This means that some vulnerable victims may not receive a sufficiently rapid response to keep them safe. The force is generally good at investigating crimes involving vulnerable people, but we found that the quality of some investigations suffered as a result of a delayed response by officers, and subsequent workload pressures within specialist investigations. The force protects and supports vulnerable people well through arrangements it has in place with partner organisations, and manages the risk posed by dangerous and sexual offenders.

South Yorkshire Police has the necessary arrangements in place to fulfil its national responsibilities, and to respond to an attack requiring an armed response. It is taking steps to increase the number of officers it needs who are trained to respond to public order incidents.

View the five questions for effectiveness


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

Last updated 25/10/2017
Requires improvement

South Yorkshire Police is judged to require improvement in the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. This is consistent with last year’s assessment. The force’s understanding of demand is judged to require improvement; it is assessed to require improvement for its use of resources to manage demand; and its planning for future demand is judged to require improvement.

The way in which South Yorkshire Police understands demand for its services requires improvement. The force has made good progress in addressing the cause of concern in HMICFRS’ 2016 efficiency inspection, although it is too early to fully assess the overall impact on the cause of concern. The force is developing its understanding of the demand for its services to inform its new operating model. It has introduced effective governance processes to ensure that the force is reducing inefficiencies, realising the benefits of changes and avoiding the unintended consequences. The force has processes to prioritise demand from calls for service, but it is not yet able to respond to the demand from non-urgent calls on a consistent basis.

The way in which South Yorkshire Police understands and uses its resources requires improvement. The force has not addressed the cause of concern we reported in 2016: it still does not understand sufficiently the skills and capability of its workforce and the skills and capabilities it needs now and in the future. The force is, however, progressing well in understanding the leadership skills it needs and has responded well to the areas for improvement we raised in 2016. This understanding allows the force to match the leadership skills to needs when planning moves across the force. It is providing a wide range of leadership development to its workforce, particularly in the softer skills required by today’s leaders.

The way in which South Yorkshire Police plans for the future requires improvement. The force has made some progress against the cause of concern from HMICFRS’ 2016 efficiency inspection that the force did not have a coherent set of future plans. The force has comprehensive financial plans; however, these are not yet fully integrated with its workforce planning or its understanding of demand. The force should also improve how it plans to achieve the savings it will need.

View the three questions for efficiency


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

Last updated 12/12/2017

South Yorkshire 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 more positive than last year when we judged the force to require improvement. The force is judged to be good at treating all of the people it serves with fairness and respect and good at ensuring its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully. However, some aspects of the way in which it treats its workforce with fairness and respect are judged to require improvement.

South Yorkshire Police understands the importance of treating people with fairness and respect and continues to emphasise the standard of behaviour it expects from the workforce. The force understands the importance of fair and respectful treatment, seeks feedback from those who use its services and encourages external advisory groups to examine its work closely. The workforce has a good understanding of how to use its coercive powers fairly and respectfully. Its use of its stop and search powers is also good.

South Yorkshire Police has strong ethical leadership through its chief officer team, which was newly formed in 2017. Leaders are good at seeking advice from others and at considering the ethical implications of decisions. The force provides the public with clear, useful and accessible information about how to make a complaint. It is good also at keeping complainants updated and it supplies them with the relevant statutory information and the findings once a complaint has been resolved. The force identifies, responds to and investigates allegations of discrimination well.

However, South Yorkshire Police needs to improve some aspects of the fair and respectful treatment of its workforce, especially the way it communicates and supports wellbeing and prevents problems with workforce wellbeing. It has improved its understanding of the risks and threats to workforce wellbeing, but still gives insufficient weight to mental and emotional wellbeing. It has in place only a limited range of effective, preventative measures designed to improve wellbeing and minimise the risks to workforce wellbeing. The force seeks feedback from the workforce. Generally, it responds well once concerns, including grievances, have been identified. Its processes for managing performance, identifying and developing talent and selecting candidates for leadership are fair and transparent, although independent oversight of these processes remains limited. The force understands fully the importance of addressing potential disproportionality in the recruitment, retention and progression of members of the workforce – and in complaint and misconduct allegations. It is addressing this problem whenever it encounters it.

View the three questions for legitimacy

Other inspections

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.

Last updated 11/04/2018
View other reports

Key facts – 2019/20

Force Area

599 square miles


1.42m people
up6% local 10 yr change


92% frontline police officers
92% national level
3.57 per 1000 population
3.69 national level
down7% 10yr change in local workforce
down5% 10yr national change

Victim-based crimes

0.07 per person
0.06 national level
up12% Local 5 year trend
up9% National 5 year trend


53p per person per day local
59p per person per day national

Points of context provided by the force

  • South Yorkshire has long established, diverse communities and a proud history of welcoming refugees, Sheffield having been declared a “City of Sanctuary.”
  • South Yorkshire is home to two Universities and a large, vibrant student population. There are five professional football teams in the area, each with a passionate local following.

Police and crime plan priorities

A PCP sets out the police and crime commissioner’s (PCC’s) priorities for policing and the resources the PCC has allocated to the chief constable for achieving these priorities.