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Cleveland PEEL 2015

Legitimacy

How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?

Last updated 11/02/2016
Requires improvement

HMIC found that Cleveland has an ethical culture, and staff know the standard of behaviour that is expected of them. At the time of inspection the force was integrating the Code of Ethics into policy and practice and our later inspection recognised the improvements made. We found that the force has started to respond to the concerns raised by staff of low morale, not feeling valued, and their overall wellbeing.

Cleveland Police fully understands the relationship between engagement and legitimacy at both a strategic and local level, and we are impressed by the commitment of officers to engaging and working closely with their local communities.

HMIC is concerned that a large percentage of the stop and search forms we assessed did not contain sufficient reasonable grounds to demonstrate the appropriate and lawful use. However, we recognise the force has made considerable improvements to its processes since our inspection.

However, HMIC is satisfied that Cleveland Police is complying with almost all the features of the Best Use of Stop Search scheme, and that Taser is used fairly and appropriately.

This is the first time HMIC has graded forces on their legitimacy, so no year-on-year comparison is possible.

HMIC found that Cleveland has an ethical culture, and staff know the standard of behaviour that is expected of them. The force has governance structures in place to support ethical decision-making, and ensure fairness and consistency. Recruitment processes are seen as fair, free from bias and discrimination, though concerns were expressed about selection for temporary promotion.

Processes for dealing with complaints and misconduct are fair and free from bias.

When HMIC looked at how well the force understands and engages with all the people it serves, we found Cleveland Police fully understands the relationship between engagement and legitimacy at both a strategic and local level. We are impressed by the commitment of officers in Cleveland to engage and work closely with their communities. Officers and staff understand the importance of treating people with fairness and respect and how this links to improved public confidence.

The force effectively engages with the public through conventional surveys, face-to-face meetings, digital technology and social media, and it is keen to retain this balanced approach. It could improve the participation of local people in policing activities, in particular the use of volunteers, and this is something the force recognises.

Stop and search and Taser are two ways that the police can prevent crime and protect the public. However, they can be intrusive and forceful methods, and it is therefore vital that the police use them fairly and appropriately. HMIC is concerned that a large proportion of the stop and search forms we assessed do not contain sufficient reasonable grounds to demonstrate the appropriate and lawful use of this power. We recognise that the force has since made considerable improvements to its stop and search processes. HMIC is satisfied that Cleveland Police is complying with the Best Use of Stop Search scheme, apart from the need to publish certain data. We are also satisfied that Taser is used fairly and appropriately.

Questions for Legitimacy

1

To what extent does practice and behaviour reinforce the wellbeing of staff and an ethical culture?

HMIC found that Cleveland has an ethical culture, and staff know the standard of behaviour that is expected of them. There are governance structures in place to support ethical decisions, and ensure fairness and consistency of process. Recruitment processes are seen as fair, free from bias and discrimination, although concerns were expressed about selection for temporary promotion.

The force had listened to staff and recently conducted a staff survey. HMIC found that the results from this survey were similar to findings from the inspection fieldwork. There was evidence of low morale and staff not feeling valued by the organisation. Work pressures and demand for police services compounded these feelings. The force has responded by putting plans in place to improve wellbeing services, and reduce levels of sickness absence.

The force is working towards integrating the Code of Ethics into day-to-day policy and practice. There has been some training, however below middle management there is little awareness of the detail of the code.

Processes for dealing with complaints and misconduct are fair and free from bias.

Requires improvement

Areas for improvement

  • The force should put measures in place to better understand and address the wellbeing concerns of its workforce.
  • The force should ensure that all staff and officers are aware of and understand the principles of the Code of Ethics.
2

To what extent are forces recording crimes in accordance with the Home Office Counting Rules?

This question has not been inspected or graded in 2015.

Ungraded
3

How well does the force understand, engage with and treat fairly the people it serves to maintain and improve its legitimacy?

Cleveland Police fully understands the relationship between engagement and legitimacy at both a strategic and local level. We are impressed by the commitment of officers in Cleveland to their engagement work with their communities. Officers and staff understand the importance of treating people with fairness and respect and how this links to public confidence.

The force effectively engages with the public through conventional surveys,
face-to-face meetings, digital technology and social media, and it is keen to retain this balanced approach. Local people could participate more widely in policing activities. In particular the use of volunteers could be improved, and this is something the force recognises.

The force effectively uses information from partner organisations, neighbourhoods and the police and crime commissioner, and uses social media and digital technology to good effect.

Good
4

To what extent are decisions taken on the use of stop and search and Taser fair and appropriate?

Cleveland Police is compliant with all aspects of the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme except for publishing data. HMIC is concerned that a large proportion of the stop and search forms we assessed do not contain sufficient reasonable grounds to demonstrate the appropriate and lawful use of this power. We are also concerned that all these forms had been assessed by a supervisor. Such a finding is unacceptable. We recognise the force has since made considerable improvements to its stop and search processes.

However, HMIC is satisfied that Cleveland Police is complying with the features of the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme, apart from the need to publish certain data. The force could provide the public with a greater understanding of the use of stop and search via its website. During the fieldwork we found that officers have a good understanding of the principles of the Best Use of Stop Search scheme.

We are also satisfied that Taser is used fairly and appropriately.

Requires improvement

Areas for improvement

  • The force should continue with the improvements it has started to ensure that stop and search records include sufficient reasonable grounds to justify the lawful use of the power, and that officers fully understand the grounds required to stop and search a person.
  • Supervisors had endorsed all forms that HMIC identified as not having sufficient reasonable grounds. The force should ensure that supervisors properly understand their responsibilities when checking that stop and search is conducted lawfully and fairly, and that reasonable grounds are recorded properly.