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North Yorkshire Police Has Resolved 'Cause for Concern'

Inspectors say a cause for concern identified in a 2022 inspection has now been resolved.

North Yorkshire Police says the cause of concern which His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) identified during their PEEL (Police Effectiveness, Efficiency and Legitimacy) inspection in October 2022 has now been resolved:

In a letter published today the Inspectorate noted that significant steps have been taken in response to the cause of concern being issued; that strengthened governance and an improved understanding of force performance is now improving service to the public through delivery of an improved police service.

The Cause of Concern related to: strategic planning, organisational management and value for money.

They recommended that the force should:

  • make sure that senior leaders have effective oversight of the force’s enabling services and the current challenges associated with capability;
  • develop an effective workforce plan so it can provide a service that meets the policing needs of the community, now and in the future; and
  • develop and align departmental operational and strategic plans that are informed by accurate information and a detailed performance framework.

An improvement plan was put in place by the force with clear ownership by senior leaders and timescales for actions to be completed. Against all the areas outlined in the cause of concern HMICFRS noted significant improvements saying

I am pleased to see the significant steps that the force has taken to address the cause of concern we issued. The strengthened governance and improved understanding of its performance is improving the service it provides to the public. We saw evidence that these improvements are sustainable and that senior leaders will continue to manage them.

The force recognises that there is still more work to do, particularly in refining the structure of its shared enabling services. However, the steps taken since our last inspection reassure us that these services and how they are overseen have improved.

The force has improved its workforce planning so it can fill vacancies with skilled officers and staff. We can already see the benefit of this approach in the control room and the improved speed at which the force is answering calls from the public.

We recognise the considerable work that the force has done to support these improvements. As a result, we now consider this cause of concern to be discharged. We will, however, continue to monitor the force’s progress through our PEEL continuous assessment.

In response to the letter from HMICFRS, Chief Constable Lisa Winward said:

“I would first of all acknowledge the substantial effort and dedicated work by all of our staff that has been undertaken right across the force over the past year to address the cause of concern raised by the Inspectorate.

“We have worked relentlessly to put in place processes and systems to improve our service to the public. I am pleased that the Inspectorate noted that the improvements which have been made are sustainable.

“The recognition of the Inspectorate of the considerable work that has been completed to support the improvements, and their confidence in how our service delivery will be managed in the future is very welcome. We will continue to build upon these strong foundations to truly embed the changes that were made.

“The Inspectorate provided us with an objective view of the quality of our service and all the work that has been completed this year has been to keep the people of North Yorkshire and the City of York safe, and feeling safe.”
Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner Zoë Metcalfe said:

“To see the single cause for concern removed just 12-months on from the initial inspection is a tremendous achievement, and testament to the hard work of both Chief Constable Lisa Winward and her whole team, and the effectiveness of public oversight.

“It is fantastic that the clear improvement plan put in place following the initial inspection last year has led to genuine, embedded and measurable progress in keeping the public safe and feeling safe.”

The force says that among the "significant improvements" it has made this year, two areas where the public can feel a tangible difference are in the call answering times in the force control room for 999 and 101 calls and the speed of arrival of response police officers, both in rural and urban locations.

Call answering time is the time taken for a call to be transferred to a force, and the time taken by that force to answer it. In England and Wales, forces should aim to answer 90 percent of these calls within ten seconds.

Comparing the performance of North Yorkshire Police in October 2023 with the same month last year, the number of calls answered within 10 seconds improved from 55% to 87%, with the average time to answer the call dropping from 19 seconds to 7 seconds.

The number of 999 calls taking more than a minute to be answered dropped from 8% to 1%.

The force says:

"We know how important it is to answer a victim’s call as quickly as possible and are continuing to work to improve our performance month on month. When we are prompt at taking the call and assessing the threat appropriately, this leads to better dispatch and attendance times which ultimately reduces the risk to victims of harm and future harm, it ensures timely safeguarding can be put in place and allow early intervention to prevent further harm or criminality.

Our performance on 101 also improved over the same time period with the average time to answer calls dropping from over three minutes to 1 minute 49 seconds."

 

Oct-22

Oct-23

Number of 999 calls

9,122

9,403

999 calls answered in <10 sec

55%

87%

Average 999 answer time

19 sec

7 sec

999 calls taking more than 1 min to answer

8%

1%

Number of 101 calls

22,000

21,000

Average 101 answer time

3min 34 sec

1 min 49 sec

North Yorkshire Police say:

"We aim to arrive at between 80% and 90% of urban incidents within 15 minutes and within 20 minutes for rural incidents. And the clock starts ticking from the moment the member of the public phones us for help.

We have seen a significant improvement in our response times. In September 2023 we were arriving at:

•    Immediate rural: 76% in an average of 16:42 minutes
•    Immediate urban: 82.3% in an average of 12:06 minutes
•    Priority: up to 78% in 1:35:37"

Zoë Metcalfe, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner said:

“To see the single cause for concern removed just 12-months on from the initial inspection is a tremendous achievement, and testament to the hard work of both Chief Constable Lisa Winward and her whole team, and the effectiveness of public oversight.

“It is fantastic that the clear improvement plan put in place following the initial inspection last year has led to genuine, embedded and measurable progress in keeping the public being safe and feeling safe.”

The full response letter from HMICRFS is below

 

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