Watchdog finds North Wales Police GOOD at keeping people safe and reducing crime
North Wales Police continues to perform well in preventing crime and keeping people safe according to its latest inspection report.
The force has been rated as good overall in the HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) effectiveness inspection report published today, and has demonstrated improvement in a number of areas.
HMICFRS latest assessment into the effectiveness of police forces across England and Wales found “most police forces are maintaining a good standard of service” that’s despite dramatic increases in demand and ongoing financial pressures, “but cracks are beginning to show.”
The watchdog found that some force area’s over stretched police are taking hours and even days to respond to 999 calls that should be dealt with in an hour and that around a quarter of forces in England and Wales struggle dealing with emergency calls in a timely way.
Poor 999 response times were not found to be an issue in North Wales.
In 2017 North Wales Police was assessed against the following areas:
- Investigating crime and reducing re-offending;
- Protecting vulnerable people; and
- Specialist capabilities.
The force retains its 2016 judgements of good for preventing crime, tackling ASB and keeping people safe and tackling serious and organised crime.
HMICFRS said officers ‘generally conduct thorough investigations’ leading to satisfactory outcomes for victims and that the force’s investigative capacity is sufficient to cope with demand.’
The watchdog also said the force was good at keeping victims updated throughout the investigation.
North Wales Police ‘makes reasonable use of a variety of approaches to offender management and achieves reductions in re-offending.’ the Inspectorate’s report says however, ‘it is not always good at taking effective action to locate outstanding offenders.’
HMICFRS found the force does not always contact Immigration Enforcement to verify the identity and nationality of arrested foreign nationals.
‘The force investigates offences involving vulnerable victims to an good standard and it has sufficient capacity to ensure that specialist investigations are allocated to suitably skilled investigators,’ the report says.
Cases are supervised closely, to identify risk and vulnerability, and it has adequate safeguarding arrangements in place for the most vulnerable people.
The watchdog did say the force ‘needs to ensure that all high-risk domestic abuse cases are referred to multi-agency risk assessment conferences so that all victims receive the support they need. ‘
The force is also sufficiently prepared to manage the risk posed by dangerous and sexual offenders, HMICFRS said.
Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones said:
“I am pleased the force has been judged to be good in terms of its effectiveness for the second year running. I would like to pay tribute to everyone involved, from front line officers to the top team under the leadership of Chief Constable Mark Polin, as well as all the partners who have played their part.”
Her Majesty’s Inspector Zoë Billingham, who led the inspection, said:
“In the face of substantial increasing pressures, dramatic increases in demand and rising numbers of complex crimes like sexual abuse, child abuse and domestic abuse, most forces continue to do a good job in keeping us safe. It is especially commendable that almost all forces are taking effective action in the fight against organised crime. I congratulate officers and staff on the way they have largely kept policing standards high.
“But I have major concerns that policing is under significant stress. On occasions, that stress stretches some forces to such an extent that they risk being unable to keep people safe in some very important areas of policing.
“About a quarter of forces are all too often overwhelmed by the demand they face, resulting in worrying backlogs of emergency jobs, with officers not attending incidents promptly, including those involving vulnerable people.
“I am pleased that forces continue to prioritise and improve how they keep vulnerable victims safe. But progress is stubbornly slow. Performance is still below standard in nearly half of all forces.
Overall one force was rated “outstanding”, 30 were “good” and 12 “require improvement”.
National Police Chiefs’ Council Chair Sara Thornton shares HMICFRS’ concerns, she said:
“HMICFRS finds good service overall and improvements since last year’s inspection, but it is also evident that increases in demand are impacting on forces’ ability to meet standards in some important areas.
“In the last year policing has been under real strain with rising crime and demand that is more complex, an unprecedented terror threat, and officer numbers at 1985 levels.
We talked last September about how the response to terror attacks had led to backlogs of incidents and a slower response to the public – and we see in this report that a major force rated as highly efficient is failing to give a timely enough response to vulnerable victims as a result.
“Flexibility for Police and Crime Commissioners to increase their council tax precept in the last government funding settlement has the potential to enable forces to grow their budgets between 3.6 and 1.6 per cent, which is welcome but still means tough choices about priorities for many forces.
The report in full: peel-police-effectiveness-2017-north-wales