Many types of crime are not being investigated well enough in West Yorkshire because the county’s police force is too focused on tackling burglary, according to an inspection report.
West Yorkshire Police was among the 18 forces out of 43 nationwide not graded ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary for the way they investigate offences.
But the force was deemed to be good at reducing crime and preventing offending as well as tackling anti-social behaviour in the first annual force-by-force assessment by the watchdog, which was published today.
Bosses were also praised for their “impressive progress since last year in developing and carrying out a programme of change that is enabling it to provide good value for money”.
According to HMIC, West Yorkshire Police has a crime rate higher than the national average but has cut crime more than its counterparts in the last year.
Inspectors said “crime reduction and prevention currently focuses heavily on acquisitive crime such as dwelling burglary, with an inconsistent approach to tackling other types of crimes,” adding: “The force would benefit from an increased cultural shift towards a more victim-centred approach.”
It said: “The force uses a wide range of investigative tactics with real drive and determination to resolve its long-standing burglary problem.
“Accredited investigators are used to investigate more serious crimes, but the allocation and supervision of less serious crimes is inconsistent.
“Burglary is a clear priority for the force, but the investigation of other crime types has suffered as a consequence with additional focus required on those that have a level of threat, risk and harm.”
On the subject of whether the force had legitimacy in the communities it served, the report said: “Chief officers have been robust on standards and integrity. There are effective monitoring systems in place but some improvement is needed on reporting gifts and hospitality.”
Temporary Chief Constable Dee Collins said her force had cut the number of burglaries but was now “increasing prioritisation in other areas, including the recruitment of additional investigators to tackle safeguarding and child sexual exploitation investigations”.
She added: “The Programme of Change is fundamentally altering the way we do business and this assessment endorses that we are on the right track.
“The challenge remains significant and we still have a long way to go. Although we have realised huge savings, the further major savings needed are going to become increasingly difficult to find.”