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North Wales 2018/19

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This is HMICFRS’s fifth PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of North Wales Police. PEEL is designed to give you information about how your local police force is performing in several important areas, in a way that is comparable both across England and Wales, and year on year.

North Wales Police was inspected in tranche three and we found:

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

the extent to which the force operates efficiently and sustainably is good.

the extent to which the force treats the public and its workforce legitimately is good.

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PEEL: Police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy 2018/19 – North Wales Police

Wendy Williams, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary

Contact Wendy Williams

HMI's observations

I am very pleased with North Wales Police’s performance in keeping people safe and reducing crime. In particular, I note the improvements the force has made since 2017 in its efficiency.

The force is good at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour. It is also good at investigating crime and tackling serious and organised crime. Keeping vulnerable people safe is a priority for the force and it works well with other agencies to identify and protect them.

North Wales Police understands the complexity and scale of the current demand for its services. It now needs to gain a better understanding of the skills its workforce currently has and those it is likely to need. This will enable it to develop strong, sustainable financial and workforce plans for the future.

The force continues to uphold an ethical culture and promote the standards of professional behaviour it expects. However, it should make sure that the necessary systems are in place to reassure the public that its use of powers, such as stop and search and the use of force, are conducted legitimately.

Overall, I commend North Wales Police for the progress it has made over the past year. This provides a strong foundation for continuing improvement in the year ahead.


How effectively does the force reduce crime and keep people safe?

Last updated 20/01/2020

Overall, North Wales Police is good at reducing crime and keeping people safe. This includes the way that it protects vulnerable people.

The force understands the scale and nature of vulnerability in its area. Officers and staff know how to spot the causes and signs of vulnerability. This is rooted in their training and the lessons learnt by the force from experience of incidents on the front line. When dealing with the public the force works to priorities in the police and crime plan that focus on vulnerability.

The force is good at responding to incidents involving vulnerable people. Officers generally reach the incident within their target time, although this does not always happen when the force is really busy. Officers then work through a clear process to assess what has happened, keeping full records of the action they have taken.

Teams generally support vulnerable victims of crime well. But in some areas, the workforce is busy and needs more help.

The force will be able to do more to help vulnerable victims once mental health professionals start working regularly in the force control room later this year alongside officers and staff.

A multi-agency safeguarding hub (MASH) has not so far been set up in North Wales. A MASH would enable the police to work more closely, and in a more co-ordinated way, with other organisations that help vulnerable people, including local authorities, the emergency services and the NHS. Setting up a MASH would result in a better service for the public.

In 2016, we judged the force’s effectiveness at preventing and tackling anti-social behaviour to be good. We also judged the force’s effectiveness at tackling serious and organised crime to be good. In 2017, we judged as good the force’s effectiveness at investigating crime. These judgments from previous years remain valid.

View the five questions for effectiveness


How efficiently does the force operate and how sustainable are its services to the public?

Last updated 20/01/2020

North Wales Police is good at operating efficiently and sustainably.

The force is good at planning for the future. It realises that more spending will be needed in some areas. When demand increases, for example in organised crime drug dealing, the force has shown it can be flexible to meet the challenge.

The force’s new approach to budgeting aims to match the available money to the priorities that have been set for policing. As this work continues, the force should seek to improve the data that it uses when analysing demand.

North Wales Police has ambitious plans to create better services while also cutting costs. It is important that the public’s views are heard in planning for the future. The force should consult widely with the public and take on board the messages it receives as it designs services.

In 2017, we judged the force’s approach to meeting current demand and using resources as good.

View the two questions for efficiency


How legitimately does the force treat the public and its workforce?

Last updated 20/01/2020

North Wales Police needs to improve some elements of how it works to ensure that the public is treated fairly. It is good at ensuring the ethical and lawful behaviour of its workforce, and at treating its workforce fairly.

Senior officers demonstrate a clear desire to lead a force that treats all communities fairly and with respect. This would be enhanced by more structured conversations with the public, listening and responding to their views and reporting back on the effect of changes made when concerns are raised. This happens in some parts of the force but needs to be more widespread and consistent.

North Wales Police needs to have a full picture of how its officers are using force in the course of their duties. Officers are given appropriate training, but there are problems with how the use of force is recorded and checked. Scrutiny processes for both the use of force and of stop and search powers need to be reviewed and improved.

Ethical behaviour is valued in the force. The workforce understands the standards expected of them as the leadership works to move away from past perceptions of a blame culture. The risk of corruption is managed effectively, but could be better still if more proactive work was undertaken in this area. The force has no backlog of vetting checks, but it should monitor the effect of vetting decisions across the full diversity of the workforce.

The force supports and engages well with its own workforce. Conversations between senior leaders and the workforce are regular and productive. The wellbeing of officers and staff is a priority and an area where the force continues to make good progress. There is more work to do before the diversity of the workforce reflects the community it serves, but the necessary commitment to make this happen is in place. The force needs to better understand any disproportionality in how members of the workforce are treated. It also needs to improve how it monitors the performance of individual officers and staff and has advanced plans in place to achieve this.

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.

Other reports

Last updated 20/01/2020
View other reports

Key facts – 2019/20

Force Area

2,385 square miles


0.703m people
up3% local 10 yr change


95% frontline police officers
92% national level
3.94 per 1000 population
3.69 national level
up8% 10yr change in local workforce
down5% 10yr national change

Victim-based crimes

0.06 per person
0.06 national level
up27% Local 5 year trend
up9% National 5 year trend


66p per person per day local
59p per person per day national

Points of context provided by the force

  • A large and diverse geographic area, mainly rural with an extensive coastline which attracts tourists resulting in extra demand on public services.
  • North Wales is economically and culturally diverse; a third of the population is bilingual. Strategic road networks links the area to the North West of England and the Port at Holyhead Port the area to the Republic of Ireland.

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.