25 Oct 2019
Your Police & Crime Commissioner, Dafydd Llywelyn has published a report following his review of initial public contact with the police, and deems that future public contact “should be fit for purpose for our communities”.
The Commissioner’s review of Initial Public Contact with Dyfed-Powys Police, which included public consultation, is also set against a national shift towards digitalized police contact in the near future. However, with Dyfed-Powys’ ageing population and a high percentage of rural communities not currently digitally connected, the Commissioner emphasizes that any strategy going forward needs to give due consideration to this.
Although 87% of survey responses were received online, the number of respondents eager to be able to report a crime via social media in the future were lower than expected. Dyfed-Powys Police’s residents continue to hold face to face and more traditional contact methods high on their preference list.
Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said:
“I wanted to address how and why you contact the Police, and in making contact, whether you have found a service which is easy to access. Thank you to all those who took the time to complete the survey.
“One of the priorities I set out within my Police and Crime Plan, is to ensure that you receive an accessible and responsive service from your police force. Therefore, crucially, I want to identify if any improvements are needed.
“This review’s findings show us that Dyfed-Powys Police cannot maintain the status quo in relation to public contact management. Whilst the future is set to bring new digital changes to the culture of initial public contact, which will have its benefits, I am clear that Dyfed-Powys cannot disregard the high percentage of its residents who are not ready to depend solely on digital contact. I believe that the strong appetite for a more personal contact approach needs to be fully explored and adequately catered for”.
The review also recognizes the enormous pressures that Dyfed-Powys Police, and other Forces nationally, face due to people contacting the police as a first resort. This can be due to a lack of clarity on how and why the public should make contact with the police, as well as a lack of availability, capability or response by other, more suitable agencies.
The public’s lack of clarity has contributed to an increase in demand within the Force Communications Centre, where all calls to Dyfed-Powys Police are answered and dealt with. In addition, this has led to increased waiting times on the 101 non-emergency number and has been identified by the public as the main barrier to making contact with the police, which has a detrimental impact on the public’s confidence in the police.
Dafydd Llywelyn added: “I fully appreciate that the mounting pressures of increasing calls to the Force Communications Centre need to be addressed urgently, and I am pleased that significant work is being planned to address this issue.
“I am committed to monitoring the Chief Constable’s progress against the recommendations set out within the report through quarterly reviews of progress with the aim of providing greater assurance to the public. I am satisfied from our initial discussions that my recommendations will be implemented.”
This is the most recent strand of a new enhanced approach to the Commissioner’s continued commitment to holding the Force to account, for the delivery of an efficient and effective police service for the residents of Dyfed-Powys. The Commissioner has previously conducted two similar reviews, which looked at police officers’ use of force, and the Force’s approach to tackling illegal drugs. Both reviews included a public consultation aspect and resulted in the Force making some improvements in these areas.