West Yorkshire Police '˜good' at keeping county safe, says watchdog

West Yorkshire Police has been rated '˜good' for the way it keeps people safe - but has been told it has to do more to lower its rising crime rate.

Thursday, 2nd March 2017, 2:33 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:08 am
West Yorkshire Police has been rated as 'good' by HMIC

Yorkshire’s biggest police force was given the second highest category of four, for investigating crime, protecting the vulnerable and tackling serious and organised crime in the latest report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary.

But it was deemed by the watchdog’s inspectors to require improvement in preventing crime and tackling anti-social behaviour.

In HMIC’s report, published today, the force was said to be doing well at tackling serious and organised crime, including newer threats such as human trafficking, child sex abuse and human trafficking.

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Inspectors added that good progress had been made in protecting the vulnerable and supporting victims, with an increase in staff dedicated to safeguarding.

Though it said the force had a good understanding of wider threats, it said that “at a local level it lacks the means to understand its changing and emerging communities”.

Among the issues was that local bobbies on the beat on safer neighbourhood teams “felt neglected and under-supported by the force”, partly due to the high number of officers being moved to other tasks.

West Yorkshire Police was also criticised for ‘poorly structured’ problem-solving practices and a failure to use new powers to tackle anti-social behaviour.

It recorded substantially more crimes than other forces, 92 per 1,000 population compared to an average of 68 in the year to June 30. This prompted claims this year that it was the crime capital of England and Wales, though the force says a rise in offences is largely due to the way they are recorded.

HM Inspector of Constabulary Mike Cunningham said: “I am pleased to report that overall West Yorkshire Police continues to effectively keep people safe and reduce crime.

“The force has a good understanding of threats, more work is needed to understand its changing and emerging communities in order to fully assess any future issues.

“The force is committed to engaging with the public through neighbourhood policing, however this is inconsistent and all communities deserve the same level of service.”