West Yorkshire PEEL 2017
How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
West Yorkshire Police is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. Since HMICFRS’ 2016 effectiveness inspection, the force has made progress in a number of areas. HMICFRS is pleased to see the positive effect recent improvements have had across the force, particularly in preventing crime and protecting vulnerable people. Further action is needed to ensure the force is effective in investigating crime.
The force is good at preventing crime and tackling anti-social behaviour. It is improving its neighbourhood policing team, which focuses on problem solving and early intervention. The force is using targeted patrols as a preventative policing measure, focusing resources on areas of high crime. It has a good understanding of its communities and the threats they face. However, it should evaluate and disseminate effective practice routinely, both internally and with partner organisations (such as local authorities, or health and education services).
West Yorkshire Police’s approach to investigating crime and reducing re-offending requires improvement. The quality of investigations in more serious and complex cases is generally good, but the force needs to improve the quality and supervision of investigations for low-level crimes, such as street robbery, burglary and vehicle-related criminality. The quality of its initial investigative response and handover are a cause of concern. Officers and supervisors need further training in basic investigative skills. The force also needs to review its procedures to track down criminals who are wanted for offences, to ensure they are arrested promptly and prevented from continuing to cause harm. It has good procedures to reduce re-offending by known offenders through its work with partner organisations, such as prison and probation services.
The force is generally good at protecting vulnerable people and supporting victims. It identifies vulnerability routinely at the first point of contact. The force is adequately prepared to manage the risk posed by dangerous and sexual offenders. It has a good understanding of how mental health problems cause vulnerability. The force works well with partner organisations, such as Mind and health services, and has effective arrangements to exchange information. However, it needs to improve capability and capacity within its safeguarding unit.
West Yorkshire Police has the necessary arrangements in place to fulfil its national policing responsibilities, and to respond to an attack requiring an armed response.
How effective is the force at preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe?
West Yorkshire Police is good at preventing crime and tackling anti-social behaviour. It is undertaking a neighbourhood policing review in response to our 2016 inspection. The force’s approach to neighbourhood policing focuses on crime prevention. It:
- uses targeted patrols with the aim of preventing crime, focusing resources on areas of high crime; and
- trains officers and staff to apply the principles of problem-solving for crime prevention.
The force has a good understanding of its communities and the threats they face. It seeks to understand threat levels and identify risks, concerns and crime trends by:
- analysing police and partner data;
- attending public meetings; and
- working with partner agencies.
There is a good understanding of local communities through the compilation of comprehensive community profiles. These profiles include information on organised crime groups, important individual networks, offenders of note and areas of high demand.
The force is using a new model for problem solving and is developing a partnership approach to early intervention. It attends local partner meetings that promote effective collaboration, exchange of intelligence and setting of joint goals.
West Yorkshire Police effectively uses legal powers, such as criminal behaviour orders. However, it would benefit from disseminating effective practice routinely throughout the five policing districts and to the organisations it works with, to improve prevention of crime and anti-social behaviour.
Areas for improvement
- The force should put in place a standardised way to evaluate and disseminate effective practice routinely throughout the five policing districts, both internally and with partner organisations, to improve its approach to preventing crime and anti-social behaviour.
How effective is the force at investigating crime and reducing re-offending?
West Yorkshire Police’s approach to investigating crime and reducing re-offending requires improvement. Different deployment and crime allocation processes in the five policing districts cause delays in responding to calls and in conducting comprehensive risk assessments for victims.
The quality of the force’s initial investigative response and handover of work between teams is a cause of concern. It needs to:
- improve its response and allocation of resources to incidents not requiring an immediate response;
- improve the handover process and its supervision to ensure investigators receive complete and high-quality information; and
- provide appropriate training and support to all those carrying out investigations, including frontline officers retrieving forensic evidence from crime scenes.
Investigations of more serious and complex cases are generally good. However, a lack of officers with detective skills and experience negatively affects the quality and supervision of low-level crime investigations.
The force should:
- develop a policy outlining minimum investigative standards, and roles and responsibilities of officers and supervisors; and
- ensure regular and active supervision of investigations to improve quality and progress.
It provides a good service to victims and has strong, supervised processes for keeping them updated on investigation progress.
The force needs to improve its procedures for tracking down individuals who are wanted for offences, to ensure they are arrested promptly and are prevented from causing further harm. However, it works well with partner organisations, such as the prison and probation services, to reduce re-offending by known offenders.
Cause of concern
The quality of West Yorkshire Police’s initial enquiries, its supervision and its general standard of investigation is a cause of concern.
- The force should provide frontline officers with training and operational experience to ensure that they are able to retrieve forensic evidence from scenes of crime.
- The force should develop a policy outlining minimum investigative standards and roles and responsibilities of officers and supervisors.
- The force should ensure that all those carrying out investigations are provided with appropriate training and support.
- The force should ensure that there is regular and active supervision of investigations to improve quality and progress.
- The force should improve its process for and supervision of handovers to ensure all relevant information passed to investigators is complete and of sufficient quality.
Areas for improvement
- The force should review processes within district control rooms to ensure consistency so that incidents are fully risk-assessed and the right resources are allocated within the appropriate timescale.
- The force should ensure that those who are circulated as wanted on the police national computer, those who fail to appear on police bail, named and outstanding suspects, and suspects identified through forensic evidence are located and arrested.
How effective is the force at protecting those who are vulnerable from harm, and supporting victims?
West Yorkshire Police is generally good at protecting vulnerable people and supporting victims. The force:
- identifies vulnerability routinely at the first point of contact;
- works closely with other organisations to understand community threats and risk; and
- has policies that provide clear guidance for safeguarding children, young people and adults.
Its initial response to incidents involving vulnerable people, particularly victims of domestic abuse, is generally good.
The force has a good understanding of the vulnerability in its area that involves mental health. However, operating practices and support for people experiencing mental health issues vary widely throughout the five policing districts.
The force should ensure that crimes involving vulnerable people are allocated to officers and staff with the appropriate skills and training, and that investigations are supervised effectively.
It also needs to improve the capability and capacity of its safeguarding units. The force should ensure that workloads are manageable and that adequate welfare and support is available.
The force is adequately prepared to manage the risk posed by dangerous and sexual offenders. It has clear management plans and a formal risk assessment procedure. The force is committed to working with a range of partner organisations to protect vulnerable people and has effective multi-agency arrangements to exchange information.
Areas for improvement
- The force should review its capacity and capability within safeguarding units and ensure that workloads are manageable and adequate welfare and support is available for the officers and staff working within them.
- The force should ensure that officers and staff have appropriate professional skills and experience to investigate complex cases involving vulnerable victims and that these investigations are supervised effectively.
How effective is the force at tackling serious and organised crime?
This question was not inspected in 2017. The grade and findings from last year’s inspection still stand.
How effective are the force’s 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 other forces to ensure there are sufficient staff and officers with specialist skills to respond to national threats;
- tests its skills in training exercises; and
- carefully analyses training and testing exercises to improve its response to national threats.
However, the force should set out its understanding of the criminal use of firearms in a threat assessment that is specific to the West Yorkshire area.