North Yorkshire must make improvements to help keep people safe and reduce crime, the police inspectorate has said.
His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) graded North Yorkshire Police’s performance across eight areas of policing and found the force was ‘inadequate’ in one area, ‘requires improvement’ in four areas, ‘adequate’ in two areas and ‘good’ in one area.
HMICFRS said the areas requiring improvement included responding to the public, investigating crime, protecting vulnerable people, and building and developing its workforce. The inadequate area was its use of resources.
His Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary Roy Wilsher said:
I have concerns about the performance of North Yorkshire Police in keeping people safe and reducing crime. In particular, I have serious concerns about its strategic planning and organisational management.
Senior leaders in the force need to ensure they have effective oversight of its enabling services, such as IT and HR functions. Failures in these areas impact the service the force provides.
North Yorkshire Police also needs to improve the speed with which it answers and responds to emergency calls. The force is well below the national standard, with only 41.9 percent of 999 calls being answered within 10 seconds.
However, we did find that the force works well with partner organisations to safeguard vulnerable people. We found good examples of the force working with other organisations to divert young people away from offending and to reduce the vulnerability of people who may become victims of crime.
Although I have concerns about corporate processes, I am pleased that the force has accepted our findings and is engaging with us and other partner organisations to ensure improvements are made. I remain in regular contact with the chief constable and will monitor the force’s progress towards addressing the cause of concern and areas of improvement I have established.
HMICFRS has confirmed their grading of North Yorkshire Police performance as follows:
|Engaging with and treating the public with fairness and respect
|Preventing crime and anti-social behaviour
|Responding to the public
|Protecting vulnerable people
|Managing offenders and suspects
|Building, supporting and protecting the workforce
|Strategic planning, organisational management and value for money
The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Zoe Metcalfe has responded to North Yorkshire Police inspection:
As Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for York and North Yorkshire it is my statutory responsibility to set strategic priorities on behalf of the public, annual budgets, and hold the Chief Constable to account for the services that North Yorkshire Police (NYP) delivers to keep our communities safe and feeling safe.
I welcome regular inspections from His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS), because the reports are an independent and rigorous assessment which I can use to intensify the level of scrutiny required to ensure North Yorkshire Police are aspiring towards becoming an outstanding service.
I’m pleased to see the latest report recognise the good work that takes place to engage with the public and treat people with fairness and respect. Notably this includes the creative ways in which Neighbourhood Policing Teams engage with communities and how North Yorkshire Police monitors the use of force and stop and search powers well.
The ways in which North Yorkshire Police responds to the public has been criticised but I expect to see immediate change in this area after recently approving an investment of 1.8 million into the Force Control Room. This is expected to transform how quickly 999 and 101 calls are answered and re-instate confidence amongst the public, whilst also ensuring the wider Customer Contact Function is fit for the future and continuing to meet the needs of communities in the longer term. I have been assured this will continue and that I’ll see a drastic improvement by the end of the year.
Unfortunately, I’m more than disappointed with other findings in the report and I’m sure members of the public will be too. It’s unacceptable that North Yorkshire Police requires improvement in multiple areas, in particular its strategic planning, organisational management and value for money – clearly more needs to be done and is being done as I continue to hold the Chief Constable to account. Our Police Force needs to do significantly better.
I’m confident that the Chief Constable is overseeing significant transformation work within North Yorkshire Police to improve these outcomes, and that since October 2022 has implemented a trusted organisational improvement plan that can be effective at pace. To reinforce this confidence, HMICFRS have acknowledged that North Yorkshire Police has worked closely with inspection staff, responded well to initial findings and acted quickly to address concerns and areas for improvement.
As Commissioner my role is clear, to intensify scrutiny activity, challenge the areas that need improving and continue to be the advocate for communities who want their voices heard. I’m bolstering my approach to this in 2023 with a relaunch of my Public Accountability Meetings, during which I will regularly question and request information from North Yorkshire Police in relation to specific areas of the HMICFRS report and hold Chief Officers to account for progress made on behalf of the public. My scrutiny work does not stop at these meetings and will continue in every scrutiny panel, executive board, committee and other frequent interaction I have with police services for assurance the Force is on track with their plans. There is no accepting simply what I am told; I must receive evidence of transformation in all areas for improvement.
HMICFRS have expressed Cause for Concern about North Yorkshire Police’s internal governance. Essentially, they say that the Chief Constable and her team must have a better system in place for running the internal workings of their organisation. The Force needs to make sure that they are clear what their business needs are from their support services and how they can best be met. I agree with HMI about that.
Ultimately what I expect to see from North Yorkshire Police is the clear delivery of outcomes in line with the public priorities set out in my Police and Crime Plan, which include enhancing positive culture, working to prevent harm and damage and to deliver the “Right people, Right Support” every time.
The inspection team identified that North Yorkshire Police staff are proud to serve their communities and I proudly believe that North Yorkshire Police continues to be a dedicated and hard-working public service, however, there needs to be significant progress to address the issues raised in this report and I have set the expectation with the Chief Constable that upon re-inspection in October 2023, I need to see overall gradings moved into the ‘good’ category.