NOTE: This content is old - Published: Thursday, Feb 11th, 2016.
North Wales Police has been rated ‘Good’ in a report looking at the culture within the force and how well the police understands and engages with the community.
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary legitimacy report says the chief constable has clearly set out a vision for officers to ‘do the right thing’, and the force was working towards a position where an “ethical culture formed part of everyday policing.”
The force is among 36 of 43 across Wales and England rated as ‘good’ on how they operate fairly, ethically and within the law.
The report also looks at how North Wales Police handle more controversial issues such as the use of stop and search and tasers.
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary says the majority of police forces in England and Wales treat people fairly and ethically, but there is a general lack of progress on the issue of stop and search.
The police watchdog examined 100 stop and search records in each of the 43 police forces in England and Wales in the 12 months up to March 2015 and found that some 15% did not have reasonable grounds recorded, as required by law.
Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary Stephen Otter said:
“This is the third time we’ve looked at stop and search in the last three years (across all forces) and although there is some improvement, it’s not happening fast enough.
The report identified North Wales Police use of Stop and Search to be proportionate and compliant with most aspects of the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme however, HMIC said it was concerned that reasonable grounds for stops and searches are not being properly recorded, or being properly supervised.
The Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) requires officers to record each stop and search and include the grounds on which it was conducted, which must be reasonable.
According to data from POLICE.UK North Wales Police officers carried out 5227 stop and searches in 2014 up from 4748 in 2013 an increase of 10% – the majority of searches were drugs related 2479 followed by 998 stolen property related stop and searches.
North Wales performed the highest number of stop and searches relating to firearms across the four Welsh forces in 2014- 50 versus 20 in South Wales.
Interestingly Cheshire Police saw a 225% increase in stop and searches for the same period, from 2035 in 2013 to 6631 in 2014 (not sure we trust the data though!)
The Police watchdog said it was satisfied that North Wales Police use of Taser, a weapon firing barbs attached by wires to batteries which causes temporary paralysis, is used fairly and appropriately.
However, some officers are not completing the Taser form correctly and this is an area the force should address this.
The report found that local policing teams have a good understanding of their communities and are committed to the service they provide to victims of crime – which has in turn increased the confidence and satisfaction with members of the public in North Wales.
North Wales Police has welcomed the latest HMIC report Assistant Chief Constable Richard Debicki said:
“I am pleased that HMIC has recognised the good work that is being undertaken. As a force we have worked hard to improve the way in which we engage with victims of crime and keep them updated. It is encouraging to see that this work has paid dividends. The findings also accord with public surveys which are telling us that local people believe that our service is improving and confidence in North Wales Police is increasing”
“Of course we will be looking closely at the findings and recommendations provided by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate in order to address any areas for improvement”.
North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Winston Roddick CB QC said:
“Overall, this is a very positive report which shows the force is on the right track and is providing an effective, ethical and fair police service.
“I was particularly pleased to note the force has a good understanding of our communities and that they are committed to providing a service to the victims of crime whose interests are also at the heart of my Police and Crime Plan for North Wales.
“Recent surveys have shown that public confidence in North Wales Police is soaring and the findings of this report demonstrate their confidence is well placed.
“There is nothing better than independent evidence of quality. This report does not mean there is no room for improvements; of course there is and I will be working with the Chief Constable to make sure they are made.”
Click here for the full report