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Greater Manchester PEEL 2015

Legitimacy

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

Last updated 11/02/2016
Good

Greater Manchester Police recognises the need to improve the force’s ethical culture. The majority of staff we spoke to felt that the culture is improving, although a number of staff representative groups identified long-standing issues which they felt that the force has not addressed adequately. The force’s senior leadership team is aware of these views and is seeking to build improved relationships with these groups.

We found a number of examples where neighbourhood teams had engaged well and worked closely with their communities, with some excellent examples of local engagement in culturally and ethnically diverse communities.

Greater Manchester Police is complying with most elements of the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme, having recently introduced a new recording system. However, too many stop and search records did not contain reasonable grounds. The use of Taser by officers across the force is fair and appropriate, and the force has processes in place to identify any potential misuse.

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

Greater Manchester Police recognises the need to improve the force’s ethical culture – moving from one focused on numerical performance targets, to one capable of providing improved service with diminishing resources.

The majority of police officers and staff we spoke to feel that the culture is improving. A number of staff representative groups expressed concern that the force’s leadership has historically been slow to respond to issues of unfairness, which has undermined their confidence in the organisation. The force’s senior leadership is aware of this and is seeking to improve relationships through improved dialogue. It has also created an internally-focused governance group that looks at hate incidents, to identify and resolve any issues of unfairness.

When HMIC looked at how well the force understands and engages with all the people it serves, we found a number of examples where neighbourhood teams work well with their communities. There are also several excellent examples of local engagement in various culturally and ethnically diverse communities. Most neighbourhood teams are using social media including Twitter and Facebook, alongside more traditional methods of communication, such holding regular public meetings, to provide information and speak to a broad range of people in their communities. As a result, we are satisfied that the force has a good understanding of the needs and concerns of the public.

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 found that Greater Manchester Police introduced a new paper-based stop and search record on 1 September 2015, to replace its previous electronic recording system. We assessed 100 stop and search records completed following the introduction of the new system and found that 11 of them did not contain sufficient reasonable grounds for the search. HMIC concluded that since changing its recording practices Greater Manchester Police is complying with most elements of the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme. Also, the use of Taser by officers across the force is fair and appropriate, and the force has processes in place to identify any potential misuse.

Questions for Legitimacy

1

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

Greater Manchester Police recognises the need to improve the force’s ethical culture – moving from one focused on numerical performance targets, to one capable of delivering an improved service with diminishing resources.

The majority of police officers and staff we spoke to feel that the culture is improving. A number of staff representative groups expressed concern that the force’s leadership has historically been slow to respond to issues of unfairness, which has undermined their confidence in the organisation. The force’s senior leadership is aware of this and is seeking to improve relationships through improved dialogue and the creation of an internally-focused governance group looking at hate incidents, to identify and resolve any issues of unfairness.

The force has established a Wellbeing Board, chaired by the assistant chief constable responsible for workforce development, which meets quarterly to monitor progress against the wellbeing strategy. It is clear that the force takes wellbeing seriously, but it is equally clear that this view is not shared by all staff.

The force recognises itself that it has more to do to make the Code of Ethics into policy and day-to-day practice, and our findings support that view.

While we have concerns that the force is taking too long to deal with complaints at local resolution – up to two years in many instances – we are satisfied that it is generally dealing with complaints and misconduct cases in a fair and consistent way.

Requires improvement

Areas for improvement

  • The force should actively demonstrate that it takes the views and concerns of officers and staff seriously, and that it acts on these concerns where appropriate.
  • 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?

Neighbourhood policing teams across Greater Manchester have a good understanding of their local communities, and engage with them successfully using a range of methods, including community meetings and social media.

There are several excellent examples of local engagement with community and religious leaders from within the culturally and ethnically diverse communities.

Most neighbourhood teams are also using social media including Twitter and Facebook, alongside more traditional methods of communication, such holding regular public meetings, to provide information and speak to a broad range of people in their communities.

The force’s website contains a great deal of useful information that the public can readily access about what is happening in their area and about the force itself.

Call-handlers and front desk staff are generally polite, friendly and helpful when dealing with members of the public.

Good
4

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

Greater Manchester Police introduced a new paper-based stop and search record on 1 September 2015, to replace its previous electronic recording system.

HMIC assessed 100 stop and search records completed following the introduction of the new system and found that 11 did not contain sufficient reasonable grounds for the search, suggesting that some officers and supervisors still do not understand what constitutes reasonable grounds.

HMIC concluded that since changing its recording practices, Greater Manchester Police is complying with most elements of the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme.

The use of Taser by officers across the force is fair and appropriate, and the force has processes in place to identify any potential misuse.

Good