Review of Welsh police forces finds failings and successes

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Media captionThe report highlighted failings but also some successes

Gwent Police has been identified as failing on all levels of policing by an official report.

Inspectors also highlighted some areas of improvement needed at the North Wales force.

Dyfed-Powys, which also needed improvements in some areas, was the only force to hit detection rates.

South Wales Police received a good inspection by HMIC which looked at Wales and England's 43 forces.

The HMIC looked at how each force:

  • Cuts crime, protects the vulnerable, tackles anti-social behaviour and other calls for service
  • Provides value for money
  • Provides a service that is fair and treats people properly

It said Gwent Police must prevent and cut more crime, tackle anti-social behaviour and give better value for money.

It also highlighted "significant concerns" over how the force responded to some victims of domestic abuse.

Inspectors raised concerns over its effectiveness in cutting crime and anti-social behaviour, saying levels were rising after a number of years where they had fallen.

Victim satisfaction was also one of the lowest of all forces in England and Wales.

And the crime inspection report identified a lack of clarity among officers about who was responsible for investigating high-risk domestic abuse cases.

However the report did praise Gwent's progress over the past two years on instilling ethical and professional behaviour but said more training on integrity issues and challenging poor behaviour was required.

The force will now receive another inspection in 2015 with external experts to "assist the senior leadership of Gwent to improve the service it delivers".

But Gwent's PCC Ian Johnston, who said the force had spent around £150,000 preparing and responding to the inspections, said HMIC was "trying to justify" its existence.

"Some of the criticisms in the report the force accepts and I accept, particularly around victim satisfaction," he said.

'Public deserves to know'

"We want to hold the force to account for local issues that affect local people, we don't want some sort of central control and a regulator which doesn't understand the area, making comments which cannot be justified in a report," he added.

A HMIC spokeswoman said the public deserved to find out how forces were performing.

"Inspection is a necessary way of examining whether police forces adhere to the rules set for them and the public say they value independent oversight of the police," she said.

"We are very conscious of our responsibility to balance the inspection demands we place on forces with the benefits inspection brings for the public."

Meanwhile North Wales Police was found to be good at preventing and cutting crime and tackling anti-social behaviour but must improve in how it investigates crime.

'Public confidence'

The force's commissioner Winston Roddick said he was "surprised" at HMIC's concerns about crime recording because the force achieved a 94% compliance rate, making it the fifth best in England and Wales.

"I take extremely seriously my responsibilities in relation to scrutinising the force on how it responds to this inspection but it is of paramount importance that a balanced conclusion is made available on the findings," he added.

Dyfed-Powys was judged to be effective in general but there were some concerns over its approach to domestic abuse which led to a lack of clarity over who was responsible for managing some processes.

"It is pleasing to note that in all of the six areas graded by the HMIC this year Dyfed-Powys Police has been graded as 'good'," a spokeswoman said.

"Although there are some concerns highlighted about our approach to domestic abuse, it also recognises that we have made good progress and that the public can be confident that we are committed to providing a good response and taking robust action against perpetrators, with good standards of investigation. "

South Wales Police was outstanding, the report said, at tackling anti-social behaviour and good at cutting, preventing and investigating crime.

Its chief constable Peter Vaughan said: "Tackling antisocial behaviour is a top priority for both myself and the police and crime commissioner and at the heart of our mission to keep south Wales safe, and so to have been rated as 'outstanding' in this area is very satisfying."

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