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West Midlands 2018/19

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This is HMICFRS’s fifth PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of West Midlands 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.

West Midlands Police was inspected in tranche one 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 – West Midlands Police

Wendy Williams, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary

Contact Wendy Williams

HMI's observations

I am pleased with most aspects of West Midlands Police’s performance in keeping people safe and reducing crime. I am particularly pleased with its efficiency planning. But it needs to make improvements in its effectiveness to provide a consistently good service.

The force is good at investigating crime and tackling serious and organised crime. However, the force needs to improve how it protects vulnerable people. It needs to be more consistent in the way it assesses the risk and responds to vulnerable people.

I remain concerned about the force’s crime recording. Although it has improved since our last inspection, the force needs to do much more.

I also remain concerned about how the force responds to its current demand. That said, the force has a comprehensive understanding of its future demand. It is using this detailed knowledge to inform its future financial planning and workforce development, aspects of which are impressive.

The force continues to uphold an ethical culture and promote standards of professional behaviour well. However, the extent of the backlog for staff vetting is a cause for concern.

Overall, I commend West Midlands Police for the progress it has made over the past year. This gives a good foundation for continuing improvement in the year ahead.


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

Last updated 02/05/2019

Overall, West Midlands Police is effective at reducing crime and keeping people safe, but it needs to improve how it protects vulnerable people.

The force has a good understanding of the nature and scale of vulnerability in its area. Officers and staff are well informed about the causes and signs of vulnerability.

The force needs to improve its response when a vulnerable person calls the control room. Control room staff do not consistently apply the THRIVE risk assessment to incoming calls. The force receives a high volume of calls and needs to make sure backlogs in response do not build up. Control room supervision needs to improve.

West Midlands Police has tackled the more serious problems we identified in control room procedures in 2018. It also plans to replace the command and control system in 2019.

The force’s first response to incidents involving vulnerable people is adequate, although high demand remains a problem. The way it manages offenders is generally effective, but high staff workloads are common.

The mental health triage service is effective. The force does not use police cells to detain people who are experiencing mental health problems.

Officers attending domestic abuse incidents must complete a domestic abuse stalking and harassment (DASH) risk assessment. But they are not doing so at every incident and some assessments lack important information.

In 2016, we judged the force’s effectiveness at preventing and investigating crime as good. We didn’t inspect these areas in 2018, but we did note that high demand for the force’s services remains a challenge. In 2017, we judged the force’s effectiveness at tackling serious and organised crime to be good.

View the five questions for effectiveness


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

Last updated 02/05/2019

West Midlands Police is good at operating efficiently and sustainably.

In 2017, we judged that the force’s approach to meeting current demand and using resources required improvement. We agreed with the force that we would not re-inspect this area this year. This is because the force is continuing its work to improve how it manages demand in the control room and how accurate its crime reporting is. We have carried last year’s grade forward.

In contrast, West Midlands Police is outstanding in the way that it is planning for the future. The force has a well-developed understanding of current, future and hidden demand from analysing a wide and impressive range of information.

The force manages its change programme well and reviews what it has done to see if it has achieved the expected benefits.

The force understands how to make best use of its financial resources. It has made a significant investment in IT to improve all areas of its work.

The force has extensively researched the best ways to change, so that it can provide policing services in the future. It plans to consult with local people again to find out what they think is important, and use this to inform its next phase of change.

West Midlands Police focuses on technology, the affordability of any changes, and how many officers and staff it will need in the future.

The force has a balanced budget, but a recent government statement means that all police forces must make extra contributions to their pension funds. This may have a significant effect on the force’s finances and its ability to maintain current numbers of officers and staff.

View the two questions for efficiency


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

Last updated 02/05/2019

West Midlands Police treats both the public and its workforce fairly.

The force’s approach to the ethical and lawful behaviour of its workforce requires improvement.

The force communicates well with the public, including those parts of the community that are harder to reach.

Officers understand how to use force correctly and understand their obligations about recording its use. The scrutiny of stop and search is good.

West Midlands Police has a large number of officers and staff whose police vetting is not up to date. The force has recruited extra staff for the vetting unit and has speeded up re-vetting processes, but at the current rate of vetting it will take several years to get rid of the backlog. The size of the backlog and the fact it has existed for several years are causes of concern.

The force is clear about the standards of behaviour it expects from its workforce. It highlights misconduct cases to raise awareness of the consequences of corruption or misconduct. The counter corruption unit (CCU) has enough resources to manage its work. However, the force still cannot fully monitor all of its IT systems.

Officers and staff are confident that they can talk to senior leaders about problems, and that leaders will listen to them. The force has improved how it deals with grievances. It has also changed the promotion process to try to remove any possible bias.

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 02/05/2019
View other reports

Key facts – 2019/20

Force Area

348 square miles


2.94m people
up8% local 10 yr change


94% frontline police officers
92% national level
3.90 per 1000 population
3.69 national level
down5% 10yr change in local workforce
down5% 10yr national change

Victim-based crimes

0.08 per person
0.06 national level
up35% Local 5 year trend
up9% National 5 year trend


58p per person per day local
59p per person per day national

Points of context provided by the force

  • The force continues to provide a wide range of policing services to meet the challenges of a dynamic and diverse region.

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.