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West Yorkshire PEEL 2018


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

Last updated 21/01/2020

West Yorkshire Police is efficient in the way it operates, and its services are sustainable.

The force excels in planning for the future. It links plans and priorities to data and information to understand demand and risk. Its holistic approach makes it a proactive and forward-thinking organisation – everywhere from workforce and resource planning to financial management and succession planning.

In 2017 we judged West Yorkshire Police as good at meeting current demands and using resources.

Questions for Efficiency


How well does the force use its resources to meet the demand it faces?


This question was not subject to detailed inspection in 2018/19, and our judgment from the 2017 efficiency inspection has been carried over.


How well does the force plan for the future?


We set out our detailed findings below. These are the basis for our judgment of the force’s performance in this area.

Assessing future demand for services

West Yorkshire Police is outstanding at assessing future demand for its services. The force’s thorough and detailed FMSs help it identify and assess emerging and likely future demand for its services.

The force’s detailed strategic assessment gives a full picture of current and long-term threat, harm and risk facing the force – from a crime and operational perspective. It informs strategic planning and resource allocation processes.

FMS 1 (2018) was the first time the force used four-year predictions. FMS 2 (2019) reviewed them along with current crime and incident data to assess their accuracy and define how it will support demand over the next four years.

The force’s strategic plans address threat, harm and risk. They link to the strategic assessment and the FMS. The plans use the four-year predictions so they can focus on:

  • demand reduction; and
  • the 4 Ps – pursue, prevent, protect and prepare.

Prior to the introduction of the FMS, the force analysed data and information to predict and model future demand. The force has a track record of using data and information to predict and model future demand in its strategic planning and target setting. This activity has become more sophisticated with FMS. The force uses it, continually refreshing the data, to inform strategic decisions on resourcing and financial spend.

The force uses a combination of statistical projections, professional judgment and environmental scanning to analyse complex and hidden crime. Examples of this include:

  • new legislation for domestic abuse, with a wider definition and
  • missing persons, with an increasing number of looked after children throughout West Yorkshire.

The strategic assessment and the FMS are built into the force’s strategic planning framework. Both documents are revised annually with a quarterly update and refresh. The documents are subject to challenge through the force’s strategic planning days (quarterly) and chief officer team, and they are reported and monitored through the force accountability meeting (as part of the governance framework).

In addition to the FMS, the force uses analytical models such as our ‘Big Data’ dashboards to triangulate and assess current and future demand. It has completed three activity analysis campaigns. The last was in Calderdale district in December 2018.

The results from this analysis are fed back to the districts to improve their understanding of current demand. They show activity by different functional area, with comparisons across the districts. The activity analysis is a 48-hour snapshot in four of the five districts, split into two 24-hour periods. This gives an understanding of where resources are placed, what activity they are working on and if their work is aligned to the force’s priorities.

The force also has a demand management app, QlikView. Using the Big Data dashboard analysis, the force has developed real-time access to incident data for districts, including attendance rates, times and repeat demand locations.

The force’s digital strategy exploits the opportunities technology presents. For example, a district dashboard has been developed to give an oversight of:

  • what officers are doing;
  • incidents coming in;
  • who is available; and
  • where incidents are happening.

It can be used by inspectors and supervisors to make better decisions for deployment. It is successfully being used in all districts to assess calls for service and the current resourcing level of staff and officers – it is a form of real-time demand analysis. For example, patrol inspectors use it to make informed decisions on where to deploy officers and staff. The approach can be used in different areas of the force, not just for incident demand analysis. There are plans to use it in other areas such as vetting.

The force is using systems that improve its ability to analyse activity and move away from producing static reports. It is piloting digital forensics using an algorithm, in collaboration with the College of Policing. This will automate some forensic activity. It will be critical in managing increasing demand for the examination of devices.

Understanding public expectations

West Yorkshire Police considers public expectations in its understanding of likely future demand for its services.

The PCC’s police and crime plan is informed by Your View surveys carried out by the office of the police and crime commissioner (OPCC). The force also does its own surveys about concerns such as hate crime. It has aligned four public priorities from the Your View survey with priorities from the strategic assessment: drugs, burglary, robbery and vehicle crime.

The police and crime plan identifies five main areas of focus and 16 priorities. The force’s strategic assessment also identifies a list of priorities which provide a clear focus for the allocation and deployment of resources. This includes tackling ‘hidden’ and less frequent crime types that pose a high level of threat and harm, such as child sexual exploitation and abuse, modern slavery and human trafficking.

The force has invested in neighbourhood policing to make sure that local priorities are collated and acted on. It emphasises consistent, enhanced engagement with communities and minimum standards (for all types of engagement). Neighbourhood teams run engagement activities and are dealing with local priorities through problem solving.

The force has a two-way messaging system with the public that was piloted in the Bradford district. The system charts any changes in public expectations. Changes are reported at the local and team accountability meetings (the governance structure). This informs local partnership arrangements and allows the police (and partners) to test and check their performance against public expectations.

The force website has a ‘report it’ button on its home page which allows the public to report non-emergency crime and incidents online. The tabs include:

  • anti-social behaviour;
  • criminal damage;
  • drink/drug driving;
  • use of/dealing drugs;
  • hate crime;
  • nuisance bikes;
  • suspicious behaviour;
  • theft; and
  • terrorism.

The tab for terrorism reporting is linked to the North East counter terrorism unit website.

The pages stress that the public should ring 999 if a crime is still in progress, someone is in danger or the offender is still at the scene. They are very easy to find, even for those with little knowledge of navigating web-based systems. The reporting tabs provide advice on how to fill in the sections on the online form. And advice on how long the sections will take to fill in and how much information is required helps to manage customer expectations.


The force’s plans are clearly linked to their priorities, supporting them with money, people and resources. The police and crime plan priorities, the PCC’s pledges and precept commitments are interdependent. They are visibly resourced in the MTFP.

The PCC made six precept commitments on 3 February 2018. They link to the aims in the plan and provide resources to protect frontline policing and PCSOs. They are:

  1. continuing recruitment;
  2. continuing programme of skills development;
  3. continuing external procurement;
  4. implementing the force’s change programme;
  5. implementing the neighbourhood policing review; and
  6. achieving the published numbers of police officers and staff.

The force has a process to comprehensively assess its current workforce skills and capabilities and match them against the organisation’s needs, now and in future. The process assesses skills, strengths and gaps. It is broken down to departmental and district level.

The information and analysis inform the FMS, which is used:

  • to match skills and capability against demand and project future demand;
  • to identify training requirements to feed into learning and organisational development plans, and local people development plans;
  • for workforce planning to proactively manage potential future gaps such as retirement and specialist skill areas; and
  • to align workforce capability to capacity. In future it will be integral to the enterprise resource planning solution.

The force has resourcing plans for districts and departments. They are designed to make sure that resources follow priorities and demand.

Workforce resourcing plans are also being developed for districts and departments. They have been completed for all districts and protective services crime. Work is continuing on operational support. The plans consider:

  • critical posts;
  • strength and establishment;
  • movement;
  • retirement;
  • career pathways; and
  • promotions.

They are part of a two-year plan for operational resourcing 2019/21 to:

  • ensure succession planning, with appropriate skills in place; and
  • support transitions from now over the medium term, ensuring the right interventions are in place to mitigate risks and challenges.

Resourcing plans as well as the workforce planning process (see above) inform the FMS. They are aligned to other strategic plans. The plans allow the force to effectively plan over the medium and long term.

The force has clear priorities for its investment decisions. These include customer relationship management; the communications system; modernisation of NICHE (the new crime management system); and investment in new handheld devices.

The priorities for funding in 2019/20 are:

  • technological transformation;
  • early intervention and prevention;
  • recruitment;
  • mitigation of pension costs;
  • demand reduction;
  • digital devices; and
  • communications and managing increased demand.

The new contact operating model has a greater focus on telephone resolution and telephone investigation.

Future workforce

The force’s workforce plans are directly linked to the demand it believes it will face.

It has enhanced its approach to workforce planning to make sure it understands its future workforce requirements based on its interpretation of changing demand.

Its approach to workforce planning has become more sophisticated. In the past, it centred on producing and reacting to information, rather than looking at how to resource the needs and priorities of the organisation, or ways of working. Workforce planning has become strategic resourcing, with a focus on:

  • medium and long-term planning;
  • how to bring people into the organisation with the right skills; and
  • how to make the best use of the resources.

The workforce plan is based on a framework of environmental factors, force plans and financial predictions. It is part of the force’s governance structure and monitored by the people board, a bi-monthly board chaired by the assistant chief constable. The workforce planning report assesses all parts of the workforce, including current and future gaps.

The force also has a strategic learning and organisation development board which meets bi-monthly. It links workforce planning and skills analysis to make sure that districts and departments have the right operational, specialist, leadership and personal skills in place. Training is aligned to the FMS and workforce planning. The board uses the information from the FMS to help identify which skills the organisation will need in future, which feeds into operational delivery plans. The plans ensure the organisation has the right resourcing, succession plans, skills and training development in place for the next two years.

The force has comprehensively assessed its workforce requirements. The FMS describes how the MTFF was aligned with current workforce planning to include:

  • predicting police officer leavers of each rank;
  • PCSO and police staff leavers;
  • workforce modernisation plans; and
  • recruitment plans, including probationers and transferees.

Other variables that may affect the recruitment strategy continue to be monitored – for example, career breaks and secondee returns.

Continuing major change programme initiatives also feed into the workforce plan. This may result in a re-assessment of the workforce mix to meet the outcomes and priorities included in the police and crime plan.

The force is recruiting to ensure it has the capacity and capability it predicts it will need to answer demand. The 2018/19 budget proposals in the FMS allowed for the recruitment of additional budgeted posts, at 31 March 2019, of:

  • 143 officer equivalents (‘officer equivalents’ is the term used for some specialist roles that may not require warranted officers, for example in cyber-crime); and
  • PCSO numbers protected at 603 following additional recruitment in 2017/18, above initial planning of 571 for 2017/18.

However, future workforce figures will inevitably be based on available funding (rather than changing demand). The FMS shows how, after a reduction in officer numbers since 2010, the force has recruited 1,046 officers since April 2016. Officer numbers in March 2018 are still less than pre-2010 (707 fewer headcount than in 2010). Due to uncertainty about future funding, no additional officers have been forecast for 2019/20 and beyond.

The strategic planning framework has allowed the force to understand changes in demand and the complexity of the demand profile, and plan accordingly. It aligns capacity and capability to priority areas, managing a limited number of officers as effectively as possible.

The 2018/19 budget is based on having 8,956 FTEs (full-time equivalents) at 31 March 2019. However, national and regional commitments, including the North East counter terrorism unit, Regional Crime, the National Police Air Service, Regional Scientific Support, the VIPER (Video Identification Parades Electronic Recording) system and national firearms reduce the core availability to 7,886 (as shown in the table below):

Total FTEs Core availability
Officers 4,911 4,583
Staff 3,442 2,700
PCSOs 603 603
Total 8,956 7,886

Finance plans

West Yorkshire Police’s finance plans:

  • are aligned;
  • aim to make best use of resources;
  • show how and why investment is being made; and
  • support future ways of working.

They are also subject to challenge by the PCC and the police and crime panel which scrutinise the expenditure to ensure good use of financial resources.

The force’s plans account for future funding and expenditure. They are based on realistic and sound assumptions. For example, assumptions of the MTFF include:

  • precept increases;
  • non-pay inflation at 2 percent each year; and
  • Leeds City Council to contribute £635,000 towards the cost of PCSOs for two years, with the balance funded from reserves.

The force has a good understanding of a complex financial situation. For example, its analysis of the changing situation in its ‘Provide value for money – strategic plan 2018/19’ (an internal document) shows the effect of the one-year-only police settlement in December 2017 (the commitment from central government for police funding).

It is very clear, given the importance of partnership work in all areas, that budget pressures for local authorities and other partners (such as health) are a concern. The force’s districts are experiencing withdrawal of funding for preventative schemes, as well as posts where funding is coming to an end. For example, domestic violence and MARAC co-ordinator posts may be under threat.

In October 2018 the updated MTFF showed a worse position than the previous forecast with deficits in each of the years:

Year Deficit
2019/20 £9.5m
2020/21 £24.7m
2021/22 £30.4m
2022/23 £33.1m

The main factors affecting the MTFF are:

  • severe delays in the national Emergency Services Network;
  • a reduction in regional organised crime unit funding; and
  • an increase in the employer pension contribution for police pensions.

The force is clear about its financial requirements and likely funding. In October 2018 the 2018/19 revenue budget was overspent by £1.9m – forecast to increase to £3.9m by the end of the financial year. Of this, £1.2m is attributable to overtime and £1.3m to police pay.

The chief officer team and senior leaders are currently considering options for in-year overspend and future years. However, in December 2018 the announcement of the police settlement was slightly more favourable than the force had previously assumed in the budget for the level of funding for 2019/20. This has allowed a more accurate 2019/20 budget plan with a reduced deficit for 2019/20 of £6.132m.

The savings options identified by the force for 2019/20 will help it achieve a balanced budget for 2019/20. The force has modelled several scenarios. Scenario planning is expected to reduce the deficit, but not in its entirety, meaning savings options remain a priority. The 2018/19 revenue budget to 30 November 2018 showed a cumulative overspend of £0.9m, forecast to increase to £1.2m by the end of the financial year.

The MTFF approved as part of the budget-setting process in February 2017 showed a deficit of £30.8m at 31 March 2021. This was based on a set of assumptions about inflation and government funding.

The MTFF presented in June 2018 shows a balanced position for 2018/19 following the use of £17.252m of revenue reserves (£11.37m of which is specifically for organisational transformation).

The position for future years, if the significant saving plans in place are met, is:

  • 2019/20 £4.830m shortfall;
  • 2020/21 £1.023m shortfall; and
  • 2021/22 balanced.

A balanced budget in 2021 relies on achieving savings including voluntary severance for up to 100 officers;zero-based budgeting; and fewer calls to the National Police Air Service.

The FMS shows how the force will try to make the £5.823m savings in the MTFF that need to be made by 31 March 2022. If the force achieves these savings, its position at 31 March 2021 will move from an overall deficit of £30.8m to one of a balanced position.

The force has invested in early intervention in the hope of reducing demand. It is identifying those who place the most demand on its services, reviewing all repeats – location, people, offenders and victims – with the aim of intervening at the first opportunity.

It worked with partners and the Early Intervention Foundation to produce a strategy, which is now in place. The work is led by the local authorities. The force reinvested an extra 100 officers in neighbourhood policing to support the work in 2018. It will add 60 officers this year (2019/20).

The force’s workforce planning links financial planning, the FMS and the strategic planning cycle. The alignment of these plans has improved. It is proactively analysing and planning to make sure it has the skills and capabilities to meet future demand.

It has developed a workforce operational model to review:

  • the organisation as it currently stands;
  • current demand and future predictions; and
  • finance and different scenarios for future funding.

This information is shaping the medium and long-term workforce plans. The force has made a gap analysis using its projections and a current analysis of capacity and capability, which includes a skills audit. Workforce reports now include capability as well as capacity.

The force is procuring an enterprise resource planning solution to improve links between finance and HR. The procurement framework is in place. This should improve how the force makes best use of the workforce’s time and skills.

The force has a training plan in place to meet needs across all operational areas over a 12-month period, including custody, public order, firearms detective training and health and safety. It allows the force to plan for capability shortfalls in critical areas of its operating model (therefore reducing risk). It makes sure the force can provide the specific skills its workforce needs while keeping operational abstractions down to a level that does not compromise the operating model.

The force’s information communication technology (ICT), or digital, strategy is part of the business planning cycle. It reviews and considers other strategies and plans such as the force’s ‘plan on a page’, STRA and the FMS.

The digital strategy has the force’s vision (part of its plan on a page) at its centre. The strategy includes:

  • organisational and national priorities;
  • the police and crime plan; and
  • partner organisations.

It has a clear process for achieving its objectives.

Digital priorities include:

  • customer relationship management and public contact, with a move to a new contact operating model and online self-service model;
  • single online home (part of a national initiative to offer the public a consistent way of engaging with their local force and accessing police services online); and
  • the national programme for ICT (providing national ICT projects across all 43 forces in England and Wales).

The digital strategy and process support the force’s change programme, as well as national and regional programmes such as the national biometrics programme and the regional scientific support platform.

The structure of the ICT department has been reviewed and revised to ensure it is future-proof, taking account of changes in technology.

The force’s plans provide a good basis for service improvement and efficiencies. It has:

  • responded positively to increasing finance and demand pressures;
  • collaborated with other police forces and the fire and rescue service to improve capabilities and make efficiencies;
  • rationalised the estate to minimise the service provision effect on the frontline;
  • made major changes to the organisation to provide the best possible service to the diverse communities it serves; and
  • invested in technology and digital policing.

It is also exploring robotics and analytics to make officers more accessible and visible in their communities, as well more efficient and productive.

The force has a sound reserves position.

In 2018 the total useable reserves (£77.8m) were 18 percent of total budget (£426.5m). By 2023 total useable reserves reduce to 5.5 percent (£26.4m) of total budget (£480.2m).

Earmarked reserves (that is, where reserves are held for a specific purpose such as capital development or asset purchases) make up the bulk of the useable reserves: £61.3m in 2018 and £14.7m in 2023.

This may change as the reserves position document shows little movement in or out after 2021 other than the PFI (Private Finance Initiative) reserve. The general balance reserve is set at an appropriate percentage of the net revenue budget.

Reserves are being used to improve service. For example, over the four-year period of the MTFF (2018/19–2022/23) there will be investment in Project Fusion, which is transforming the business support function for the force. Reserves will be used to finance the one-off costs of Fusion. For example, investment in new technology and project support to help achieve the savings and investment in new and enhanced capabilities such as commercial services or strategic workforce planning.

Earmarked reserves are targeted to support service improvement. This includes:

  • funding the repair, redecoration and return of lease properties to their original condition;
  • responding to the staff survey with targeted wellbeing activity; and
  • meeting the costs associated with the programme of change, predominantly employee and other revenue-based costs.

Savings plans should improve the way the force works. Other savings are planned from estates rationalisation, non-pay and digital interview recording:

  • The revenue savings for estates rationalisation are: £593,000 March 2019; £829,000 March 2020; and £246,000 March 2021.
  • For non-pay, the removal of budget underspend and maintaining representative spending balance in line with organisational needs has achieved £2m to date, with a further £2.5m planned for 2019/20. This should be complete by March 2020.
  • The cashable savings from digital interview recording result from the removal of tape, label and seal purchases and destruction costs. The aim is to save £297,000 by 2020.

Leadership and workforce development

The force has a formal succession plan for senior leader teams. The chief officer team meets once a quarter to review the current senior management teams. Their agenda includes skill levels, upcoming changes due to promotions/retirement and career development.

Below the level of superintendent, workforce planning is managed through a monthly strategic planning meeting with a rolling cycle of promotion boards. A resource plan for each district and department identifies where skills development is needed (including leadership skills). The resource plan also includes planning for the number of officers needed at each rank.

The force is reintroducing its talent management scheme, with a focus on:

  • identifying talent;
  • driving performance throughout the organisation; and
  • bringing about cultural change.

Its revised talent management scheme will be available to everyone – both staff and officers. Individuals will be assessed against a nine-box matrix linked to the personal development review and critical skills needed in the organisation. It will also link to workforce planning. The scheme was still in draft at the time of our inspection. We look forward to assessing its progress in future.

The force has several career pathways in place. It is piloting an informal pathway tailored to role and rank that means an inspector, for example, could access the detective role having not previously carried out a detective role.

West Yorkshire Police has actively taken part in schemes to bring external talent into the force and openly embraces the recruitment of new talent. The force has used external recruitment effectively to increase its skills base. In 2018 it had 16 Police Now recruits. The force has taken two direct entry superintendents and several direct entry inspectors. It is now concentrating on achieving a more diverse, representative workforce.

The force is doing well and needs to continue its efforts to build and support a diverse workforce. It has started with a coaching programme for underrepresented groups. It also operates an aspiring leaders programme and programmes to support senior leaders through the Police National Assessment Centre process. It plans to use a variety of methods to recruit and retain the leaders and specialists it needs for the future.

Ambition to improve

West Yorkshire Police is ambitious and aims to be innovative.

The force’s financial plans are built on a range of scenarios. This reflects uncertain times – it is difficult to predict police funding. The next spending review could increase or decrease police funding in the range of −5 to +5 percent. Brexit adds another level of uncertainty and the pensions discount isn’t secured for the medium to long term. The PCC took the opportunity to increase the council tax precept this year by £24 (based on public engagement and consultation by the OPCC). The assumption for council tax increase in 2020/21 is £5.

The force is investing in early intervention and demand reduction work to reduce demand in the longer term. Its restructure of business, HR and finance (Fusion) is complete. And work has started on artificial intelligence, looking at how it could support transactional HR enquiries with a tool called TOBI.

TOBI is available on the force intranet for officers and staff. They can submit questions about policy, for example, and TOBI responds with the relevant clauses. The tool aims to move people towards a self-service culture.

Focus areas for sustainable investment in the 2019/20 budget planning process include:

  • recruitment;
  • technological transformation;
  • early intervention and prevention; and
  • mitigating the effect of changes to the calculation and payment of police pension costs (announced by the Treasury in September 2018 as an anticipated cost to West Yorkshire Police of £6.8m in 2019/20 and forecast to be over £18m per year from 2020/21).

The force’s strategic assessment gives a detailed picture of current and long-term threat, harm and risk facing the force, from a crime and operational perspective. The assessment informs the force’s strategic planning and resource allocation processes.

The force is developing two plans – to provide reassurance and value for money – to support existing plans to tackle:

  • vulnerability (protecting vulnerable people plan);
  • crime (reduce crime and improve investigations); and
  • organised crime (attack criminality).

The two new plans will bring a holistic approach to the implementation of the force’s policing strategy. They are:

  • Provide reassurance. This plan focuses on neighbourhood policing and early intervention to reduce demand in the long term and improve public confidence. It will prioritise anti-social behaviour and road safety.
  • Provide value for money. This plan is based on the change programme to meet the financial challenges.

The latter plan will include the areas of focus in the Home Office Police Settlement: digital; contracts and procurement; investigations; and serious and organised crime. West Yorkshire Police’s digital strategy 2018–2025 is ambitious and long term. The main elements are digital engagement, policing operations, justice, business, infrastructure and platforms, and strategic asset data. They are clearly linked to the police and crime plan, and the force’s priorities.

A continuing change programme includes:

  • back office transformation with Project Fusion, estates rationalisation and commercial excellence;
  • building a workforce centred on the Policing Education Qualifications Framework (PEQF);
  • improving collaboration with the North East Transformation, Innovation and Collaboration unit and tri-service collaboration (with the fire and rescue and ambulance services), and the Yorkshire and the Humber forces;
  • digital policing – using and/or developing the emergency services mobile communications programme (ESMCP), core network, enterprise resource planning solution, demand management/public contact, digital mobile policing, body-worn video replacement, customer relationship management, Microsoft 365 rollout and national automated number plate recognition;
  • local policing – reducing demand and improving investigations; and
  • specialist capabilities – enhancing intelligence and improving digital forensics.

The force’s change programme for back office (Fusion) aims to make savings as well as transform the way the organisation works. Its improvement agenda aims to create as much self-service and business process automation as possible.

West Yorkshire Police is involved in several collaborations. Its plans for joint working (with agencies and organisations) are based on a clear understanding of benefits to be gained.

An example of collaboration is the force’s involvement in the North East Transformation, Innovation and Collaboration Unit. This is a seven-force collaboration between the Yorkshire, Humber and North East forces that examines joint opportunities for efficiency and saving opportunities. Several projects currently being assessed include counter terrorism and surveillance rooms.

The force is also working on a tri-service collaboration with West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service and Yorkshire Ambulance Service. An interactive, facilitated planning day took place on 14 February 2019. Chairs and executive officers from each service voted on their priorities, along with the OPCC. Five subjects were deemed a top priority: estates, post-incident care, training, drones and fuel. Voting/work to agree priorities also confirmed that existing work streams should continue.

Summary for question 2