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Staffordshire PEEL 2015

Legitimacy

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

Last updated 11/02/2016
Good

The chief constable has set out a vision for staff to ‘do the right thing’ when serving the public, and most staff report that an ethical culture forms part of everyday policing. We found that officers and staff consistently engage very effectively with the public and understand their needs.

Staffordshire Police is not compliant with the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme, and we have concerns about the recording of reasonable grounds for lawful use of the power. The force uses Taser fairly and appropriately.

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

In Staffordshire Police, HMIC found that the chief constable has set out a vision for staff to ‘do the right thing’ when serving the public and that most staff report that an ethical culture forms part of everyday policing. Staff told HMIC they feel valued and have confidence in the fairness of the complaints procedure and the promotion process.

HMIC found that the performance and standards unit is fair and consistent in its approach to complaints and misconduct investigations. There is good oversight and governance from chief officers. Staff have confidence in both the process and the management of investigations. Most staff are confident they would be treated fairly if the subject of a complaint.

When HMIC looked at how well the force understands and engages with all the people it serves, we found that in many instances officers and staff engage very effectively with the public and understand their needs. This work is supported by appropriate central guidance and excellent resources on the force intranet. As a result, we are satisfied that overall the force has a very good understanding of the needs of local people and that most officers 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 that the police use them fairly and appropriately. HMIC found that Staffordshire Police is not compliant with the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme and we have concerns about the recording of reasonable grounds for lawful use of the power. Use of Taser in Staffordshire Police is fair and appropriate, and it is overseen in accordance with national guidance and reviewed by senior officers.

Questions for Legitimacy

1

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

In Staffordshire Police, HMIC found that the chief constable has set out a vision for staff to ‘do the right thing’ when serving the public and that most staff report that an ethical culture forms part of everyday policing. Staff told HMIC they feel valued and have confidence in the fairness of the complaints procedure and the promotion process. A staff survey conducted in 2014 provided the force with a clear understanding of wellbeing and staff understood their responsibility to support each other. A wellbeing steering group was co-ordinating effectively the activity the force has undertaken in response to the survey.

The force is working well to ensure the Code of Ethics is understood by its entire staff. The code is being incorporated into force policies and procedures but further work is necessary to make sure that all staff are aware of and understood the code.

HMIC found that the performance and standards unit is fair and consistent in its approach to complaints and misconduct investigations. There is good oversight and governance from chief officers. Staff had confidence in both the process and the management of investigations. Most staff are confident they would be treated fairly if the subject of a complaint.

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?

In Staffordshire Police there is a clear and consistent understanding of the importance of effective public engagement. The force uses a clear communications approach to ensure that a focus on engagement is maintained.

An excellent ‘citizen focus toolkit’ contains a broad range of relevant information about local communities. This comprehensive understanding helps the force to respond very effectively to issues of concern.

The force uses an extensive range of methods to ensure effective engagement with local people; good use of social media allows it to reach out to communities who are harder to reach. The public are kept well informed through updates provided in social media, internet posts and at local meetings.

The force has very effectively encouraged participation in policing by using a large number of volunteers. This has increased opportunities for effective engagement.

Through the training it has delivered in regard to the National Decision Model (the framework by which all policing decisions should be made, examined and challenged), coupled with briefings and guidance on the Code of Ethics, the force has ensured that officers have the knowledge and skills required to treat members of the public fairly and with respect.

Outstanding
4

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

HMIC found that Staffordshire Police is not compliant with the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme in relation to recording and publishing outcomes, providing opportunities for the public to observe stop and search encounters, and monitoring the impact of use of the powers on young people. We also have concerns about the recording of reasonable grounds for lawful use of the power.

There has been independent review of stop and search by the ethics, transparency and audit panel (ETAP), established by the police and crime commissioner, and this review has been published.

Officers understand the National Decision Model and how it can be used to support decision-making about stop and search encounters, but despite all officers completing a computer-based training programme, knowledge of the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme is mixed.

Taser-trained officers are clearly aware of the National Decision Model and understood its application to Taser use. The number of Tasers held and officers trained to use them are appropriate.

Use of Taser is overseen in accordance with national guidance and reviewed by senior officers. An independent review into the use of Taser in Staffordshire had been carried out by the ethics, transparency and audit panel, established by the police and crime commissioner and published.

Taser is used fairly and appropriately in Staffordshire.

As Staffordshire Police was not compliant in three or more aspects of the Best Use of Stop and Search Scheme in 2015, HMIC revisited the force in 2016 to assess improvements made since the initial inspection.

Best Use of Stop and Search letter – Staffordshire Police

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 so that stop and search records are accurate and contain the required information in respect of reasonable grounds.
  • The force should put in place an action plan setting out how it will comply with all the features of Best Use of Stop and Search scheme. HMIC will revisit the force within six months to determine what improvements have been made.