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Metropolitan PEEL 2015

Legitimacy

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

Last updated 11/02/2016
Good

HMIC found many good examples of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) seeking to create an ethical and inclusive culture, and feedback from officers and staff is very positive and supportive.

The force has made considerable efforts to improve the diversity of officers and staff, which has been generally unsuccessful to date.

We found that the force understands and engages successfully with all the people it serves. The force has a good understanding of the diverse communities of London, and is working hard to overcome any barriers to engagement.

The force complies with most elements of the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme. However, the force has only recently started identifying whether the object searched for was found and this is not yet published. Taser use is fair and appropriate in the MPS.

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

HMIC found many good examples of the MPS seeking to create an ethical and inclusive culture, and feedback from officers and staff is very positive and supportive.

We also looked at the work the MPS is doing to improve the diversity of its officers and staff. The force fully recognised that this was an issue and has made a series of attempts to; in particular, recruit more people from a black, Asian or minority ethnic background.

Most people we spoke to are aware that the force has made an effort to improve diversity, although, as the force would acknowledge, the results of these attempts have been disappointing.

The Code of Ethics is mainly understood by officers and police staff, and many managers take wellbeing issues seriously, even if this is not consistently applied across the force.

When HMIC looked at how well the force understands and engages with all the people it serves, we found evidence that the MPS understands and engages successfully with all the people it serves. The force has a good understanding of the diverse communities of London, and is working hard to overcome any barriers to engagement. Officers use a range of effective approaches to identify public views. Social media, which officers use widely to engage with communities, is an example of this.

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 the force complies with most elements of the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme. However, the force has only recently started identifying whether the object searched for was found and this is not yet published. Taser use is fair and appropriate in the MPS.

Questions for Legitimacy

1

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

HMIC found many good examples of the MPS seeking to create an ethical and inclusive culture, and feedback from officers and staff was very positive and supportive.

We also looked at the work the MPS was doing to improve the diversity of its officers and staff. The force recognises fully that this was an issue and had made a series of attempts to recruit more people from a black, Asian or minority ethnic background. Most people we spoke to were aware that the force had made an effort to improve diversity, although, as the force would acknowledge, the results of these attempts have been disappointing.

The Code of Ethics is mainly understood by officers and police staff, and many managers take wellbeing issues seriously, even if this is not consistently applied across the force.

In relation to how the force deals with public complaints and misconduct investigations HMIC concluded that, while there is absolutely no suggestion that this inspection uncovered racist or discriminatory behaviour in any aspect of our fieldwork or data analysis, the perceived fear of being accused of racism is leading to outcomes that appear to treat BAME officers and staff more severely. The MPS’s own data on outcomes showed a bias. The force does not yet understand why this is the case. This is an issue for everyone in the force to understand and address.

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?

The MPS has a good understanding of the people it serves. The force has developed good profiles of local areas, although they are not consistent. We found that the force effectively analyses public attitude surveys. The force understands the importance of engagement in building police legitimacy. We found a good system in place to identify and resolve community tensions.

Officers use a range of effective approaches to identify public views. Social media, which officers use widely to engage with communities, is an example of this. This is complemented by traditional media, such as newsletters and poster campaigns. We found that local officers regularly attend meetings, and engage with the public informally but effectively at a variety of events and venues.

The National Decision Model (the framework by which all policing decisions should be made, examined and challenged) is well understood by most officers and staff.

The Commissioner emphasises treating people properly and appropriate training supports officers and staff in doing so. Officers and staff mainly treat the public fairly and with respect.

Good
4

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

The force complies with most elements of the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme. The force has only recently started identifying whether the object searched for was found and this is not yet published.

Officers we spoke to are anxious about carrying out stops and searches. Chief officers and senior officers should make clear the circumstances for an effective and lawful search. Officers using the power should be confident (and supported by managers) to do so in those cases where it is appropriate.

We found that officers did not routinely use the National Decision Model in deciding when and how to conduct stops and searches.

Taser-trained officers understand how to apply the National Decision Model when considering whether to use Taser. The force assesses rigorously the number of Taser-trained officers it needs alongside how it deploys them, taking into considering both national threats and local issues. The level and standard of the force’s supervision of its use of Taser is robust. The force provides extensive information about its use of Taser to the public.

Taser use is fair and appropriate in the MPS.

Good

Areas for improvement

  • Chief Officers and senior officers should make clear the circumstances for an effective and lawful search. Officers using the power should be confident (and supported by managers) to do so in those cases where it is appropriate.