North Yorkshire Police told to make 'urgent improvements' to keep people safe

'Urgent improvements' are needed at North Yorkshire Police to improve the force's performance Credit: North Yorkshire Police

'Urgent improvements' are needed at North Yorkshire Police to improve the force's performance according to a scathing new report.

An inspector from His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) says there are "serious concerns" about the planning organisational management and value for money delivered by the force.

Across the other seven areas of policing that were examined, the inspection found the force ‘requires improvement’ in four areas, ‘adequate’ in two areas and ‘good’ in one area.

Among the issues raised were the speed at which the force responds to emergency calls. Response times fell below the national standard, with only 41.9 percent of 999 calls being answered within the space of 10 seconds.

Commenting on his findings, Roy Wilsher, His Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary, 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.

“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."

Among the recommendations in the report are for the force to:

  • Improve the time it takes to answer emergency calls, while repeat and vulnerable victims aren’t always identified.

  • Review the effectiveness of its response to emergency andpriority calls.

  • Review its operating model for protecting vulnerable people and the resources needed to meet the demands placed on it.

  • Develop a well-being plan to support staff.

  • Review its approach to neighbourhood policing and the resources required to provide these services.

The inspector added that he is pleased that the force has accepted the findings of the report and is working alongside the inspectorate and partner organisations to make sure improvements are made.

The inspectorate will be in regular contact with the chief constable and will monitor the force’s progress towards addressing the issues raised.

North Yorkshire chief constable Lisa Winward acknowledged the report highlighted a significant number of areas that require improvement relating to the “corporate capacity and capability of the organisation”.

Ms Winward said: “They told us that while the right actions might be taking place on the ground by our people, they were not able to find sufficient evidence of how this was directed and overseen through our governance structure.

“The inspectors told us that every single person they spoke to was committed, fully engaged in their work and doing a really good job in difficult circumstances.”

She said the force has been through a significant period of change since the last inspection, in 2018, and said a major control room investment had already seen a stark improvement in the percentage of 999 calls being answered within 10 seconds.

Ms Winward said: “As the safest place in the country, I can assure the communities of North Yorkshire and the City of York that we remain absolutely committed to keeping you safe, and feeling safe.”

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