South Yorkshire PEEL 2018
How effectively does the force reduce crime and keep people safe?
During our 2019 effectiveness inspection, we found that South Yorkshire Police is good at reducing crime and keeping people safe. The force continues to be good at preventing crime and tackling anti-social behaviour and at tackling serious and organised crime.
The force is generally good at investigating crime. It has changed its structures and processes to improve how it investigates crime. The force’s crime support hub is very effective. The force should reduce delays in investigations that involve digital evidence. It is the first force to have developed and delivered a specialist course for police staff who are investigating crimes against vulnerable victims.
The force is good at managing wanted persons and outstanding suspects. It works well with its partner organisations to check the status of arrested foreign nationals. It understands and uses bail well. When releasing suspects under investigation, it tries to make sure it protects vulnerable victims. It is working to improve the quality of its case files to meet its disclosure obligations.
The force is good at protecting vulnerable people and works well with partners to do this. It has a good understanding of vulnerability and supports its staff in identifying this. However, officers need to spot less obvious signs of vulnerability more consistently.
The force is good at using its powers and protective orders to protect victims. However, supervisors need to monitor domestic abuse risk assessments that are re-graded. South Yorkshire Police is good at working with its partners to manage and prevent the demand from mental health. The force can’t always respond to emergency and priority calls involving vulnerable people quickly enough. But it is doing the best it can to manage and prioritise its resources well.
How effective is the force at preventing crime, tackling anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe?
This question was not subject to detailed inspection in 2018/19, and our judgment from the 2017 effectiveness inspection has been carried over. From our 2018/19 pre-inspection work we found the force continues to be good and did not require further inspection.
How effective is the force at investigating crime and reducing re-offending?
South Yorkshire Police is generally good at investigating crime. It has made changes and improvements to its structures and processes through the introduction of a new operating model. This is helping to improve the standard of its investigations.The crime support hub, which now deals with a wider range of crimes than previously, is an example of positive practice. Staff in the hub triage these crimes, plan the investigations and allocate them to other teams if further investigation is necessary. This has improved the quality of investigations, improved the experience for victims and reduced demand for frontline officers.
While most investigations are of a good quality, we would like to see more consistency across the force. Sometimes the force can’t respond quickly enough to incidents, which means officers don’t always complete their initial enquiries in a timely manner. The digital forensic support unit is also slowing down some investigations.
The force has a shortage of trained investigators, but it is addressing this. It is the first force to have developed and run a course for specialist police staff who are investigating crimes involving vulnerable victims.
The force pursues and manages wanted persons and outstanding suspects. It works well with its partners to check the status of arrested foreign nationals to see if they are wanted for offences in other countries. The force understands and uses post and pre-charge bail well. It considers any decision to release a suspect while under investigation, so that vulnerable victims remain protected. It is getting better at meeting its disclosure obligations and it has already made changes to improve the quality of its case files.
Areas for improvement
- The force should ensure that all investigations are completed to a consistently good standard and in a timely manner.
- The force should improve its ability to retrieve digital evidence from mobile phones, computers and other electronic devices quickly enough to ensure that investigations are not delayed.
How effective is the force at protecting those who are vulnerable from harm, and supporting victims?
The force is good at protecting vulnerable people and works well with its partners to do this. However, it could make better use of the data available from its new ICT systems, to further increase its understanding of vulnerable victims and offenders. Most officers are good at identifying obvious signs of vulnerability and the force is training its officers and staff to look for hidden vulnerability.
The force can’t always respond to emergency and priority calls involving
vulnerable people quickly enough, but it is doing the best it can to manage its resources effectively. Staff in the control room assess risk and prioritise calls correctly. Cases involving domestic abuse include a full risk assessment. But the force needs to make sure that a supervisor reviews any decision to downgrade an initial risk assessment. This is to make sure victims receive the right level of safeguarding.
The force is good at using its powers and protective orders to protect victims. Together with its partner organisations, it has introduced a multi-agency domestic abuse (MADA) meeting, which is positive practice. It is good at working with its partners to manage and prevent the demand from mental health. It is the first force in the country to become a member of the integrated care system, which is positive. It has mental health support processes in place to help officers assess the vulnerability of victims and offenders.
Areas for improvement
- The force should make use of the full range of data from its new systems, to better understand, analyse, and profile vulnerability, victims, and offenders.
- The force should put in place appropriate controls to ensure that where there is a secondary review of domestic abuse cases, and a decision is made to re-grade the risk assessment, a supervisor oversees this decision.
How effective is the force at tackling serious and organised crime?
This question was not subject to detailed inspection in 2018/19, and our judgment from the 2016 effectiveness inspection has been carried over. From our 2018/19 pre-inspection work we found the force continues to be good and did not require further inspection.
How effective are the force’s specialist capabilities?
We have previously inspected how well forces provide armed policing. This formed part of our 2016 and 2017 effectiveness inspections. Subsequent terrorist attacks in the UK and Europe have meant that the police service maintains a focus on armed capability in England and Wales.
It is not just terrorist attacks that place operational demands on armed officers. The threat can include the activity of organised crime groups or armed street gangs and all other crime involving guns. The Code of Practice on the Police Use of Firearms and Less Lethal Weapons makes forces responsible for implementing national standards of armed policing. The code stipulates that a chief officer be designated to oversee these standards. This requires the chief officer to set out the firearms threat in an armed policing strategic threat and risk assessment (APSTRA). The chief officer must also set out clear rationales for the number of armed officers (armed capacity) and the level to which they are trained (armed capability).Detailed findings for question 5