South Yorkshire Police's homicide prevention strategy recognised in national review

SOUTH Yorkshire Police's approach to identifying people who may commit serious offences in future was highlighted in a national review of how forces can help prevent murders.

His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) examined eight regions which collectively accounted for 260 of the 696 killings recorded in the year ending March 2022.

The report - called Homicide Prevention - found that most forces were able to identify patterns and causes, and responded by allocating the correct resources.

A potentially dangerous person (PDP) is someone who is believed to pose a risk of committing offences that will cause serious harm. South Yorkshire Police was highlighted in the report for introducing meetings to discuss PDPs and allocate resources based on high, medium or low risk.

“This means it can prioritise people more likely to commit a homicide and allocate resources to protect the public,” added the report, which noted how another force had identified only one PDP - and a third had none.

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire’s police commissioner, said: “A range of factors can lead to homicide, including domestic abuse, organised crime, drug and alcohol abuse and gang violence.

“It’s vital that police forces understand the picture clearly in their area, as every county will have different challenges and demographics.”

He added: “I’m pleased to see South Yorkshire Police highlighted for their efforts in assessing the risk posed by individuals, allowing them to take action before further crimes can be committed.

“I welcome this report and its findings and hope it will work towards improving consistency between force areas.”

The report reiterates concerns from inspectors that a national shortage of analysts is preventing good understanding of patterns in killings.

It also notes how the link between drugs and homicide might have been overstated in the past few years.

“We found no evidence of effective processes to identify linked incidents,” said HMICFRS. “This included assessment of deaths in non-suspicious circumstances, for example in care homes.

“If police forces are to contribute effectively to the government’s target of reducing homicide by 20 percent, the availability of analysts needs to improve.”

South Yorkshire Police was also praised for effective use of the Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, which allows officers to disclose information about someone’s previous history of domestic abuse or violent acts.