Watchdog report says North Wales Police needs to improve crime reduction and keeping people safe.
North Wales Police has been judged GOOD at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour however, the force needs to improve at keeping people safe and reducing crime – that’s the outcome in new report published by the Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) today, Thursday February 18.
HMIC has graded every police force on its overall effectiveness in reducing crime and keeping people safe.
The assessments are based on how well forces prevent crime and anti-social behaviour; investigate crime and manage offenders; protect vulnerable people and support victims; and tackle serious and organised crime.
Of the 43 police forces across England and Wales, HMIC has graded 1 force Durham Constabulary as outstanding; 24 forces as good; and 18 forces as requires improvement. No force was found to be inadequate.
This latest report says North Wales Police is good at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour however, the report says the force is inconsistent in how it investigates crime and offender management
The report also states police officers are sometimes assigned crimes to investigate that are beyond their level of training, and more accurate assessment of risk when people first make contact with the force would ensure a better service is provided to victims.
The HMIC also says North Wales Police tackles serious and organised crime effectively in many respects although there is scope for improvement in some specific areas.
HM Inspector of Constabulary Zoë Billingham, who led the inspection, said:
“This is one of the most wide-ranging inspections HMIC has ever conducted. We’ve examined police effectiveness across the board – from how forces identify anti-social behaviour hotspots, to their mapping of organised crime groups, and from their management of the most dangerous offenders, to their work to protect children.
“The job of the inspectorate is to shine a light on both good performance, and on things that need to improve; and this inspection found both
[x_blockquote cite=”HM Inspector of Constabulary Zoë Billingham” type=”left”]“Losing our eyes and ears in the community is only likely to hamper good performance in preventing crime”[/x_blockquote]
“Almost all forces are good at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour. Successful prevention means fewer crimes; and fewer crimes means fewer victims, and so more people are kept safe. This is at the heart of what the police are here to do.
“But I need to raise a warning flag here. Forces’ good performance in preventing crimes is at risk if neighbourhood policing is further eroded.
Frontline neighbourhood police officers have told us repeatedly that they are being pulled from their vitally important preventative work in communities to fulfil other duties, like guarding crime scenes, spending time in stations investigating crimes or staffing police station front counters.
North Wales Police Assistant Chief Constable Richard Debicki said:
“Everything we do as a force has the aim of a safer North Wales at its heart. Recent court cases demonstrate that we have highly professional teams who are committed to bringing to justice the most serious criminals who travel into or live in North Wales.
“I am pleased that the HMIC has recognised the effort that goes into this difficult area of work, some of which we carry out with the Regional Organised Crime Units and neighbouring police forces.
“I am also happy to note that the HMIC identified the hard work and commitment of our staff in fulfilling our national Policing responsibility.
“The areas identified within the Strategic Policing Requirement, require some of the most highly trained Officers and Staff in post to perform these roles, ensuring that we keep North Wales safe, as well as being able to support our colleagues in other Forces.”
The HMIC inspection on which this report is based took place in October 2015.
At the time inspectors felt that control room operators could be more effective in identifying vulnerable callers.
Supt Alex Goss from the Force Control Room stated;
“Since the inspection took place in October 2015, the control room has undertaken significant work supported by partner agencies. This has enhanced the knowledge of the call taking operators in their ability to identify vulnerability at the point of call.
“Significant investments in technology and bespoke training has allowed us to be able to do this. With this training and technology, we continue to provide an excellent service to the communities of North Wales ensuring early safeguarding is put into place and the needs of the vulnerable victims are met.
The report also called for improvement in investigating crime and managing offenders.
ACC Debicki said:
“Since the inspection changes have been made to the way we work both internally and with partners to address these concerns and I am confident that we are now delivering more effectively in both these areas. Naturally we will also be looking closely at the findings and recommendations within the final report to identify and address any areas for improvement”.
North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Winston Roddick CB QC said:
“This is an encouraging report which highlights the achievements of the force in a number of areas at a time when it has been under considerable pressure to reduce spending.
“That part of the HMIC press release which states that North Wales Police requires improvement in keeping people safe and reducing crime is contradicted by the report itself.
“The report has in fact confirmed North Wales Police is good at preventing crime and anti-social behaviour and keeping people safe, which are priorities in my Police and Crime Plan and which the report states the force understand and carry out well.
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