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Derbyshire PEEL 2015

Legitimacy

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

Last updated 11/02/2016
Good

The chief officer team is fully committed to the need for an ethical and inclusive workforce. There are good arrangements in place to help support staff wellbeing, and complaints are dealt with fairly and consistently. The constabulary engages and works well with its communities but HMIC found that the force is not complying with the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme. It is not recording the full range of outcomes – only recording where the stop and search encounter results in an arrest, but not the reason for the arrest. However, there are advanced plans to introduce a new stop and search form. There is also an inconsistent understanding among officers using stop and search about the scheme, and the constabulary has more to do to record the reasonable grounds for stopping and searching someone.

In Derbyshire, Taser is only used by a small number of highly-trained officers. Taser use is assessed as being fair and appropriate. However, the constabulary must ensure that Taser-trained officers properly record their decisions using the National Decision Model (NDM).

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

In Derbyshire Constabulary, the chief officer team is committed to the need for an ethical and inclusive workforce. Although the Code of Ethics is not fully understood by everyone, the force’s ‘Just Think’ initiative ensures that all staff are aware of the importance of a professional and ethical approach. This code was launched in April 2014 and sets out nine policing principles that should be applied by all officers and staff.

HMIC found that the constabulary provides support for the wellbeing of its staff and there are a number of examples to support this. Public complaints and allegations of misconduct are generally being dealt with in a fair and consistent way.

When HMIC looked at how well the force understands and engages with all the people it serves, we found that the importance of policing legitimately is understood at all levels. This is demonstrated by examples of safer neighbourhood teams engaging well with all communities, including diverse ones. As a result, the force has a good understanding of the needs and concerns of the public. The majority of officers and staff in Derbyshire treat people fairly and with respect when they come into contact with them.

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 the police use them fairly and appropriately. The constabulary is not complying with the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme in relation to recording and publishing the outcomes, including the connection between the outcomes and the items searched for. There is more to do in respect of recording reasonable grounds for stopping and searching someone. Also, while some officers understand the principles and features of the scheme, others do not. HMIC concludes that the constabulary needs to ensure its officers are clear on how to use stop and search, in order to reassure the public that it is using these intrusive powers fairly.

Taser is only used by a small number of highly-trained officers, however, the constabulary must ensure that Taser-trained officers properly record their decisions using the National Decision Model (the framework by which all policing decisions should be made, examined and challenged). The model is a framework by which all policing decisions should be made, examined and challenged. Overall, Taser is used fairly and appropriately by the constabulary.

Questions for Legitimacy

1

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

The chief officer team is committed to upholding and maintaining the ethical culture that it has established in recent years. Chief officers are very visible leaders, who continually promote the constabulary’s values, priorities and policing principles.

There are a number of different ways that the need for an ethical culture is communicated to the workforce. The main mechanism is through the constabulary’s internal campaign, ‘Just Think’, which reinforces ethical behaviour and standards of conduct.

The constabulary has good arrangements in place to provide for the wellbeing of its workforce.

While the Code of Ethics has not been fully incorporated into constabulary practice, good work has been done, primarily through the constabulary’s internal campaign, ‘Just Think’, to ensure the workforce understands the importance of behaving ethically.

Public complaints or allegations made about officers and staff, including those with protected characteristics, are generally being dealt with in a fair and consistent way.

Good
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?

Safer neighbourhood teams across Derbyshire Constabulary have a good understanding of their local communities, and engage with them successfully. There are several excellent examples of local engagement. Neighbourhood teams use Twitter and Facebook, alongside more traditional methods of communication, such as newsletters and leaflets, to provide information to a broad range of people in their communities.

The public have access to a wide range of useful information about what is happening within their area, as well as about the constabulary generally, through the website.

The constabulary’s ‘Just think’ campaign places an emphasis on the way in which officers and staff engage with the public – from how they make a good impression with their appearance, to how they communicate verbally. Call-handlers and front desk staff are generally polite, friendly and helpful. The National Decision Model is also well understood among the workforce.

The constabulary’s overall approach is positive and the majority of officers and staff in Derbyshire treat people fairly and with respect when they come into contact with them.

Good
4

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

Derbyshire Constabulary is not complying with all the features of the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme, although there are advanced plans to publish the full range of outcomes (including the connection between the outcomes and the item searched for). It has more to do in respect of recording reasonable grounds for stopping someone. Staff do not have a consistent level of knowledge and understanding of the scheme.

In Derbyshire, Taser is only used by a small number of highly-trained officers. Tasers are used fairly and appropriately and the force records, monitors and evaluates their use. The National Decision Model is established and well-understood, however, Taser-trained officers need to consistently record their decisions, using the model, after using a Taser.

Requires improvement

Areas for improvement

  • The constabulary should comply with the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme in relation to recording and publishing outcomes including the connection between outcomes and items searched for; and also ensure that all officers using stop and search understand the principles of the scheme.
  • The constabulary must ensure that Taser-trained officers properly record their decisions using the National Decision Model in accordance with the College of Policing training.