Police Commissioner blasts watchdog report as ‘inaccurate’ after it finds North Wales Police ‘in need of improvement’
A police watchdog report claiming North Wales Police has seen a drop in performance and needs to improve has been slammed for being “inaccurate, wasteful and stressful”
North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones, a former police inspector, claims the report published by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) fails to recognise the work done by the Force to improve.
The report on the latest ‘legitimacy’ inspection by HM Inspector of Constabulary Wendy Williams, follows one last year which rated North Wales Police as ‘good’ but this time says it ‘requires improvement.’
[miptheme_quote author=”North Wales PCC Arfon Jones” style=”boxquote text-left”]The irony is not lost on me that they express concerns on the area of stress at work with no apparent awareness of the stress caused by their inspection regime.[/miptheme_quote]
HMIC has assessed all forces in Wales and England for its second annual ‘PEEL inspections’, which measure how “legitimate” police are in the eyes of the public.
HM Inspector Wendy Williams said:
“I have judged North Wales Police as ‘requires improvement’ at how it legitimately keeps people safe and reduces crime.
This is a disappointment, as in 2015 I judged it to be ‘good’. Unfortunately, this signifies a drop in performance in some areas.”
The latest inspection also included, for the first time, an assessment of how well the force tackle the problem of abuse of authority for sexual gain by members of its workforce.
Nationally the HMIC found more than 400 claims of abuse of authority for sexual gain, described by the Inspectorate as the most serious form of corruption.
North Wales Police has been told it needs to be more proactive in rooting out and preventing this form of corruption, and referring cases of abuse of authority to the IPCC.
Diverted others from their duties.
Arfon Jones doesn’t believe the headlines of the report are supported by its findings and content and feels the seemingly continuous inspections are actually getting in the way of North Wales Police doing their job.
The inspections require a team of three including two police officers to work on them full-time and diverts others from their duties.
“I don’t believe the ‘requires improvement’ judgement reflects the tremendous work carried out across North Wales on a daily basis to keep our communities safe and they should not be disheartened by this report.“ says Mr Jones.
North Wales Police is the most improved Force in England and Wales in terms of victim satisfaction and I don’t believe the headlines of the report are supported by its findings and content.
The reference to a ‘drop in performance’ since 2015 is inaccurate as it is not comparing like for like – the subject areas of the 2015 inspection were not a part of the inspection this time round.
It’s particularly frustrating that the Police budget is being top sliced to fund HMIC’s significant growth in resources.
I appreciate that it is important to have a system of rigorous appraisal of the Force but it should not be to the detriment of our vital frontline services.” he adds.
HM Inspector of Constabulary Wendy Williams said:
“There is good news; I am pleased that North Wales Police can demonstrate that it seeks feedback and challenge from the people it serves, using social media and a variety of data collection opportunities.
The report says the force should ensure all corruption intelligence is properly assessed and graded in a timely manner.
“It is, however, working closely with the public and its workforce in order to keep them informed about cases of misconduct and corruption.
North Wales Police has a zero-tolerance approach to sexually motivated misconduct and takes action where it suspects the abuse of authority for sexual gain is taking place.”
I am disappointed to find that, although the force has some good processes in place to identify wellbeing issues and concerns, it could do more to recognise the signs of ill health involving mental health issues, including stress at work.” added Wendy Williams.
Read the full report here.
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