A police boss has welcomed an inspection report which has found that the North Wales force is performing well in most areas.
But North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Winston Roddick CB QC was surprised by criticism of the way crime recorded as the force had a compliance rate of 94 per cent, putting it in the top five in England and Wales.
Mr Roddick said: “I welcome the overall assessment provided by HMIC in respect of North Wales Police which, for the most part, is good. It accurately reflects the hard work done by police officers and staff aimed at supporting my vision of security in people’s homes and safety in public places.
“I will be discussing the report in detail with the chief constable and this will include the force’s effectiveness at investigating offending, the area requiring improvement in the judgement of HMIC. I will be scrutinizing the force’s action plan to deal with this point.
“I was surprised at HMIC’s reference to being concerned about the force’s approach to crime recording because North Wales Police achieved a 94% compliance rate, making it the fifth best in England and Wales. To make a statement about the integrity of the force’s crime data without acknowledging this particular finding is misleading and unhelpful.
“I take extremely seriously my responsibilities in relation to scrutinizing 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.”
Assistant Chief Constable Mr Richard Debicki added: “We are very pleased Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary has acknowledged the good work being undertaken by North Wales Police and our positive direction of travel.
“There were many positives within the report, as well as some areas identified for improvement.
“We recognise an inspection can help us focus further still on the needs of the victim – to that end we have already embarked on a significant piece of work prior to the publication of the report aimed at improving our quality of service.
“Central to this will be our aim to exceed the expectations of victims in order to ensure that they are completely satisfied with the service they receive. We understand that crime reduction is important but this also needs to be matched by a feeling that the police have done a good job when dealing with those who are victims of crime.
“We are keen to acknowledge and address recommendations regarding appropriately trained officers being tasked with investigating specific types and levels of crime based upon the needs and any potential risk to a victim.
“I am, of course, encouraged by how Her Majesty’s Inspectors have recognised how effective we are reducing crime and preventing offending, which has, no doubt, underpinned reduction in the recorded crime rate of 15% in North Wales over the last four years.
“This has been the result of the excellent and well established relationship we have, not just with Police Forces in the region, but also our various partners.
“We recognise the value of partnership working delivered at a local level and will continue to build upon the good work already done. The way that the force handles anti-social behaviour within our neighbourhoods has also been identified as good by inspectors, and this is particularly pleasing given how hard we have worked on this through our neighbourhood policing teams across the force area.
“Whilst the crime reductions are positive and encouraging we are not complacent and we remain more determined than ever to tackle the scourge of serious and organised crime, and crime and antisocial behaviour which occurs, and is of concern to people, in their local neighbourhoods. We have a strong track record here, and we will continue to work extremely hard on behalf of our communities, because they expect and deserve this.
“Victims are at the very centre of what we do, their needs must come first and they must have confidence to report a crime to us and the trust it will be investigated speedily, appropriately, professionally and sympathetically. North Wales Police will continue to work with HMIC and all our partners to ensure we deliver on this pledge and keep north Wales a safe place to live, work and visit.”