Wiltshire PEEL 2014
Does the force act with integrity and provide a service the public expects?
Wiltshire Police has made good progress since HMIC’s revisit in 2012. The chief officer team promotes a culture of professionalism and ethical behaviour. Force policies are detailed and provide guidance across the range of subjects falling under professional conduct and ethical behaviour. Staff understand their obligation to conduct themselves in a professional and ethical manner, set by the force and by the Code of Ethics in policing. However, some staff need guidance so they feel confident about reporting misconduct. Where misconduct is reported the force responds appropriately. Active monitoring of areas vulnerable to corruption is efficient using a comprehensive system of regulation and auditing of integrity-related performance, but more could be achieved with greater analytical capacity.
Further insights on legitimacy
The Crime Survey for England and Wales (12 months to March 2013) found that the proportion of respondents who think that the force does an excellent/good job was greater than the figure across England and Wales. The same survey over the same period also found that the proportion which agrees that the force deals with local concerns was broadly in line with the figure for England and Wales. The force’s own victim satisfaction survey (12 months to June 2014) found that the proportion of victims who were satisfied with their experience was greater than the figure across England and Wales.
The crime data integrity inspection found that all of the calls reviewed were dealt with in a helpful, polite and professional way. The domestic abuse inspection found that force control room staff were good at gathering and passing on necessary information to frontline officers. Unfortunately, operators did not always succeed in identifying repeat victims. Staff understood how to risk assess victims’ circumstances and were not afraid to use their personal judgment to determine the overall level of risk.
As a result of the crime data integrity inspection, HMIC is concerned that a notable proportion of reports of crime are not being recorded by the force. This means that victims of crime are not receiving the service they should when they first report a crime.
The force’s approach to no-criming (cancelling a recorded crime) is a matter of concern.
To what extent does the force ensure that the workforce acts with integrity?
Wiltshire Police has conducted a three-year programme to emphasise the importance of standards and values rather than simply performance. The leadership from the chief constable and chief officers is effective and is supported by a well-developed process of communication. The force has focused on an approach known as ‘people first’ and the application of key principles: honesty and integrity, professionalism, teamwork and personal responsibility. HMIC found that the policies, structures and processes used by the force emphasise integrity demonstrated in the operation of the force’s people intelligence board.
HMIC found that the workforce understands this value-based approach and the importance of challenging unethical conduct, but more effective monitoring of force policies is needed and some staff, including supervisors, need further training about the local resolution of public complaints. This would include examples of where behaviour does not immediately require misconduct investigation but requires improvement.
Chief officers demonstrate fairness and proportionality in dealing with misconduct cases.
HMIC found the professional standards department and the anti-corruption unit are effective. There is effective oversight of misconduct investigations by chief officers, but preventive work and intelligence processes required to identify and investigate corruption need further development.
What are the public perceptions of the force?
HMIC considers that there are two sources of data that give an insight into the public’s perceptions of their police force: the Crime Survey for England and Wales, and the Victim Satisfaction Survey.
The data for Wiltshire Police show that:
Crime Survey for England and Wales (12 months to March 2013)
- 69 percent of adults surveyed think that the police do an excellent/good job, which is greater than the figure across England and Wales of 61 percent.
- 64 percent of adults surveyed agree that the police deal with local concerns, which is broadly in line with the England and Wales proportion of 60 percent.
Victim Satisfaction Survey (12 months to June 2014)
- 90.1 percent (± 1.9 percent) of victims were satisfied with their experience which is greater than the figure across England and Wales of 85.0 percent (± 0.2 percent).
To what extent does the force respond to calls for service appropriately?
The value for money inspection found the force had set a clear performance standard for response times and these had remained the same since 2010. The inspection found that during this time the proportion of calls attended within these standards for ’emergency’ calls had stayed the same, and had improved for ‘priority’ calls.
The crime data integrity inspection found that almost all frontline operational officers and support staff were enthusiastic and positive about ethical crime-recording practice. All of the calls reviewed were dealt with in a helpful, polite and professional way.
The domestic abuse inspection found that force control room staff were good at listening, questioning, and at gathering necessary information. A research team in the control room worked to check all computer systems for relevant information. Officers attending incidents were given a clear picture of the known intelligence. Many patrol officers did not trust newly issued mobile devices to operate properly, so important information was passed to them using the radio. Unfortunately, control room operators did not always succeed in identifying repeat victims. Staff understood how to risk assess victims’ circumstances. They were not afraid to use their personal judgment to determine the overall level of risk if this is appropriate rather than relying on a pure scoring system. When risk assessment was first introduced, training was provided. However, many officers had not been updated on more recent developments.
To what extent are the data and information provided by the force of a high quality?
The crime data integrity inspection examined 64 incident records and found that 51 crimes should have been recorded. Of the 51 crimes that should have been recorded, 44 crimes were actually recorded. Of the 44, one was wrongly classified and one was recorded outside the 72-hour limit allowed under the Home Office Counting Rules (HOCR). There was a need for improvement in the accuracy of crime-recording decisions.
Wiltshire Police had a centralised contact centre through which HMIC estimated that it recorded approximately 50 per cent of its total recorded crime. This unit recorded reports of crime directly from members of the public, and these did not require the creation of an incident record. Our inspection of this unit (a review of 54 calls and crimes recorded from the public) found that 56 crimes should have been recorded. Of the 56 crimes that should have been recorded, 54 were actually recorded, of which one was wrongly classified and four were recorded outside of the 72-hour limit allowed by the HOCR.
The inspection also reviewed 58 no-crime records and found 49 records to be compliant with the Home Office Counting Rules and National Crime Recording Standard.