Statement from Dr Alan Billings in response to the publication of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) PEEL: Police Efficiency 2016:
“Nothing in this report comes as a surprise because in May-June interim Chief Constable Dave Jones and I commissioned a peer review of the force conducted by the College of Policing which laid out very clearly where the strengths and weaknesses of South Yorkshire Police were. This report does not add to that.
“The peer review findings have already provided the incoming Chief Constable, Stephen Watson, with a very clear idea of where the force’s priorities must lie. This is what he and the force have been working to since his arrival and the College of Policing is continuing to give support. The HMIC report does not change those priorities but only confirms them.
“As a result of the peer review, the key areas for improvement are already well recognised, especially the need to have a more complete understanding of the different and changing demands on the force.
“The report states that while the force understands well such areas of demand as reported crime, it did not anticipate how changing local policing would impact on its workload. It finds the force ‘inadequate’ in this respect. In other words, the force needs good neighbourhood policing if it is to manage crime and anti-social behaviour. It also needs better planning for future demand. When I appointed the present Chief Constable he was given a clear brief to get all this right.
“The report echoes the peer review in finding that a lack of strategic vision and a failure to understand demand has made workforce planning too finance rather than function driven.
“Overall, I see this report as the inspectorate catching up with and confirming what the peer review had laid bare and what the force has been working to address since that time.
“There are some positive points worth noting. One is that victim satisfaction with the service is ‘good’ at 83%. Given where the force was when I first became Police and Crime Commissioner, immediately after the Jay Report and the scandals around child sexual exploitation, this is a very good result and a credit to hard-pressed as well as hard-working officers and staff.
“We might note that 999 calls in South Yorkshire per 1000 of population are 30 more than the average per force area.
“The Chief Constable has committed to take South Yorkshire Police from a force that requires improvement to one that is good and indeed excellent and I will support him in that in every way I can.”