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Dorset PEEL 2015

Legitimacy

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

Last updated 11/02/2016
Good

We are satisfied that the chief officer team takes seriously the need for an ethical and inclusive workforce, and considers that allegations against officers and staff are generally dealt with fairly and consistently.

It is clear that Dorset Police had invested a significant amount of effort in ensuring that officers understood the need for engaging with communities and treating them fairly and without bias.

The force is complying with almost all of the features of the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme, although there is more to do on recording and publishing outcomes.

Taser is being used fairly and appropriately by Dorset Police.

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

HMIC found there is a recognised ethical culture within the force and the chief constable and her team have put a great deal of effort into publicising the force’s vision, values and the need for ethical behaviour. The force provides for the wellbeing of staff, and has also invested in a range of effective occupational health services. The force publicises and promotes the Code of Ethics, and we found evidence that it is well understood. The force uses a range of activities to ensure that complaints and misconduct allegations are managed fairly and proportionately.

When HMIC looked at how well the force understands and successfully engages with all the people it serves, we found Dorset Police has dedicated a significant amount of effort in ensuring that officers understand the need to work closely with communities and treat them fairly and without bias. This has included personal presentations from senior officers, and training on the Code of Ethics and the National Decision Model.

The force runs a successful volunteers’ scheme to get the public involved in a wide range of policing activities. Overall the force engages well with the public, listens to public concerns and ensures that officers are appropriately trained.

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. HMIC found that the force is complying with almost all of the features in the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme, although there is more to do on recording and publishing outcomes.

The force should 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 conduct stops and searches.

Overall we were satisfied that Taser is being used fairly and appropriately by Dorset Police.

Questions for Legitimacy

1

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

HMIC found there is a recognised ethical culture within Dorset Police and the chief constable and her team have put a lot of effort into publicising the force’s vision, values and the need for ethical behaviour. These are well understood and widely supported across the organisation.

The force provided for the wellbeing of staff, and also invested in a range of effective occupational health services. While those we spoke to were generally positive about the wellbeing arrangements in place, there were concerns raised about the support available to those involved in a potentially traumatic event.

The force publicises and promotes the Code of Ethics, and we found evidence that it is well understood and widely supported across the organisation.

The force uses a range of initiatives to make sure that complaints and misconduct allegations are managed fairly and proportionately.

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?

HMIC found the chief constable and her senior team in Dorset Police have invested a significant amount of effort in ensuring that officers understand the need for engaging with communities and treating them fairly and without bias. This has included personal presentations from senior officers, and training on the Code of Ethics and the National Decision Model (the framework by which all policing decisions should be made, examined and challenged).

Although we found evidence of some inconsistency in relation to public engagement and maintenance of neighbourhood profiles, we were satisfied these issues had already been identified by the force and are being addressed through ‘Project Genesis’, an academic evidence-based strategic review of neighbourhood policing in Dorset Police.

The force runs a successful volunteers’ scheme to get the public involved in a wide range of policing activities.

Overall the force engages well with the public, listens to public concerns and ensures that officers are appropriately trained.

Good
4

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

HMIC found that Dorset Police is complying with almost all of the features in the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme, although there is more to do on recording and publishing outcomes.

The force should 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. In addition, the force should ensure that adequate supervision takes place to ensure that stop and search records are accurate and contain the required information in respect of reasonable grounds.

Officers are appropriately trained in the use of Taser and in completing the national reporting form. Officers use the National Decision Model to justify any use of Taser. Taser use is scrutinised for appropriateness and issues brought to the attention of senior officers. The force publishes limited information regarding Taser usage. HMIC suggest that the force should be more transparent about how it uses Taser in order to enhance public confidence in the use of this tactic.

Overall we were satisfied that Taser is being used fairly and appropriately by Dorset Police.

Good