Skip to content

North Yorkshire PEEL 2015

Legitimacy

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

Last updated 11/02/2016
Good

HMIC found that North Yorkshire Police is committed to developing and maintaining an ethical culture, and the chief constable has set out his vision and values for the force, and expected standards of behaviour. We are satisfied that North Yorkshire Police has a good understanding of the needs of its local communities and that most officers and staff treat people fairly and with respect.

North Yorkshire Police complies almost completely with the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme. However, much more needs to be done to ensure that the grounds for stops and searches are fully understood, recorded accurately and properly supervised. Taser use is fair and appropriate.

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

HMIC found that North Yorkshire Police is committed to developing and maintaining an ethical culture. The chief constable has set out his vision and values for the force, and expected standards of behaviour. A number of methods have been used to communicate this to staff, but we found the level of understanding is inconsistent.

Officers and staff told us that they feel valued, and would be confident and willing to challenge decisions and unethical behaviour. We found a good understanding of the Code of Ethics and it has been incorporated into force policies, procedures and some training courses.

When HMIC looked at how well the force understands and successfully engages with all the people it serves, we found that officers and staff engage positively with the communities they serve. This enables them to understand the issues affecting local people and keep them informed of action taken to resolve problems. As a result we are satisfied that North Yorkshire Police has a good understanding of the needs of its local communities, and that most officers and staff treat people fairly and with respect.

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 North Yorkshire Police complies almost completely with the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme. However, much more needs to be done to ensure that the grounds for stops and searches are fully understood, recorded accurately and properly supervised.

Taser information is published on the force website, and HMIC concluded that its use is fair and appropriate.

Questions for Legitimacy

1

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

HMIC found that North Yorkshire Police is committed to developing and maintaining an ethical culture. The chief constable has set out his vision and values for the force, and expected standards of behaviour. A number of methods have been used to communicate this to staff, but we found the level of understanding is inconsistent.

Officers and staff told us that they feel valued, and would be confident and willing to challenge decisions and unethical behaviour. We found a good understanding of the Code of Ethics and it has been incorporated into force policies, procedures and some training courses.

The force has provided some services for the wellbeing of its workforce, although support provided to officers and staff dealing with vulnerable people or traumatic incidents is inconsistent. A force-wide wellbeing programme was being developed at the time of our inspection, to better meet the needs of all staff.

To ensure complaints and allegations of misconduct are dealt with consistently for police officers and police staff, the force holds regular management meetings that involve professional standards, human resources, legal services and the counter-corruption departments to discuss the consistency of outcomes from complaints and misconduct allegations.

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?

North Yorkshire Police engages well with its local communities. Most officers and staff understand the importance of positive community engagement and how it helps to build trust and confidence in the police.

The force has a good understanding of its local communities, and engages well with them using a range of methods. Community meetings and surgeries are held to seek the views of the public and keep them informed of what the police have been doing to resolve local issues. Social media is also used as a way of engaging and communicating with local people. The force uses this engagement to assess the impact of community incidents or problems and respond effectively.

The value of volunteers in improving community engagement and trust in the police is recognised by the force. The public is encouraged to take part in local policing activities and there is a range of opportunities available to work with North Yorkshire Police.

Call-handlers and front-counter staff were generally polite, friendly and helpful. Most officers and staff understand the importance of how logical, ethical decision-making affects public trust and confidence.

Good
4

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

North Yorkshire Police complies almost completely with the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme. However, much more needs to be done to ensure that the grounds for stops and searches are fully understood, recorded accurately and properly supervised.

The deployment of Taser-trained officers and the distribution of Taser-equipment across the force is currently being reviewed and is based on the level of risk, demand and geography of the area. Systems are in place to manage the deployment and use of Taser, with oversight to ensure its use is fair and appropriate. Taser information is published on the force website, and HMIC concluded that its use is fair and appropriate.

Good

Areas for improvement

  • 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.
  • The force should ensure that adequate supervision takes place to ensure that stop and search is conducted lawfully and fairly, and that reasonable grounds are recorded properly.