Kent 2016Read more about Kent 2016
This is HMIC’s third PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of Kent Police. PEEL is designed to give the public information about how their local police force is performing in several important areas, in a way that is comparable both across England and Wales, and year on year. The assessment is updated throughout the year with our inspection findings and reports.
The extent to which the force is effective at keeping people safe and reducing crime: not yet graded.
The extent to which the force is efficient at keeping people safe and reducing crime is: good.
The extent to which the force is legitimate at keeping people safe and reducing crime is: outstanding.
The efficiency and legitimacy inspection findings are published below. My overall assessment of Kent’s performance will be published in spring 2017.
Zoë Billingham, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary
How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
PEEL assessments are updated throughout the year, as the results of the different inspections and data collections become available. The graded judgments for effectiveness will be published in March 2017. See last year’s assessment of the force’s effectiveness.
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Kent Police has been assessed as good in respect of the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. The force’s understanding of current demand for its services is outstanding, and it is doing considerable work to evaluate future demand. It is good at using its resources to manage current demand and works well with other forces in the region, particularly Essex Police, to improve efficiency and make savings. The force continues to manage its finances successfully and meet its saving requirements. Future investment plans are based on realistic and prudent assumptions and are designed to achieve greater efficiency and service improvement. In last year’s efficiency inspection, Kent Police was judged to be good.
Since HMIC’s 2015 inspection, Kent Police has continued to be efficient in how it keeps people safe and reduces crime. Its detailed understanding of current demand, local priorities, national requirements and public expectations is outstanding, and it is making good progress in evaluating future demand. It uses a comprehensive range of management information to understand current demand across geographical areas and time frames. It has held workshops with those who are less likely to report crime, including transgender, black and minority ethnic (BME) and women’s groups. The force has done work to help identify and improve understanding of demand that is under-reported, such as cyber-crime, crimes against vulnerable people, gang activity and child sexual exploitation, and has drawn up specific plans to guide improvements in service in these areas. The force is aligning its change programme to meet likely future demand and has identified a number of areas of growing demand, including counter terrorism, cyber-crime, people trafficking and vulnerability. It continues to improve its analytical capability to help it to understand emerging crime types and demographic changes.
Kent Police is good at using its resources to manage current demand. The force assesses thematic areas of the organisation in order to identify priorities based on risk and vulnerability. It has a development programme that draws together demand management with resourcing and service delivery, for example, which enables effective resource prioritisation. The force has worked hard to understand the costs of its services and to ensure services provide value for money. It has a comprehensive understanding of workforce skills and their effect on capacity and capability. Using an IT profiling tool, the force can identify workforce skills capabilities, gaps and potential gaps, such as from people retiring. It uses this information to plan training and recruitment. Good use is being made of technology such as body-worn cameras, and it has ambitious plans for mobile devices later in 2016. The force has a strong commitment to joint working to manage demand efficiently and it works well with other emergency services, particularly Kent Fire and Rescue Service. It has collaborated with Essex Police extensively for a number of years and is also part of the seven-force strategic collaboration programme.
The force is good at planning for future demand. It continues to manage its finances successfully and to meet its saving requirements. It is exploiting many opportunities to drive down costs and make savings so that it can invest in its change programmes. Future plans and investments are based on realistic and prudent assumptions about future income, costs and benefits and link directly to the workforce plan. The force has well-developed plans that identify future workforce capabilities aligned to current priorities. Ambitious plans to roll out mobile devices are well advanced. The use of technology to produce further efficiencies and meet the digital challenges is a fundamental part of the force’s plans, and should enable it to continue to improve the services it provides.
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Kent Police has been assessed as outstanding in respect of the legitimacy with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. Our findings this year are consistent with last year’s assessment, in which we judged the force to be outstanding in respect of legitimacy.
The force’s approach to treating the people it serves with fairness and respect is outstanding. It is good at ensuring that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully. Kent Police has an exceptionally strong ethical culture; the range of ways it effectively communicates with the public underpins its legitimacy. The force also has an outstanding approach to workforce wellbeing and fair treatment.
Kent Police is outstanding at treating the people it serves with fairness and respect. The force seeks feedback and challenge from the public frequently, including from those who may have less trust and confidence in the police or who are less likely to complain or take part in traditional forms of engagement. For example, it holds public meetings, undertakes surveys and uses social media, and works with independent advisory groups. The force responds to feedback and ensures that the workforce are made aware of any lessons that should be learnt.
The force is good at ensuring that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully. It has an exceptionally strong ethical culture in which it reinforces acceptable and unacceptable behaviours. The force vets all people applying to be officers, staff or volunteers, and contractors. It has a proactive approach to risks to the integrity of the organisation and uses a range of techniques to gather and assess intelligence relating to potential corruption.
Officers and staff understand the seriousness of the abuse of authority for sexual gain (taking advantage of a position of power to exploit vulnerable victims of crime) and the force treats it as serious corruption. The force is proactive in seeking intelligence on potential abuse of authority from a range of sources, including women’s refuges, prostitutes, ethnic minority groups, and from monitoring its IT systems. It publishes full details of misconduct cases on its website for the public and on the intranet for its workforce.
The force is outstanding at treating its workforce with fairness and respect. Its use of culture and ethical boards alongside open challenge forums, such as ‘Ask the Chief’, have allowed it to identify and act quickly to improve the workforce’s perceptions of fair and respectful treatment. The workforce is involved in decision-making about wellbeing and ethical matters. Supervisors across the force have a comprehensive understanding of their wellbeing responsibilities, and are well prepared and supported to implement them. The force’s personal performance management arrangements are well established and effective, and are supported by the workforce.
How well has the force performed in our other inspections?
In addition to the three core PEEL pillars, HMIC carries out inspections of a wide range of policing activity throughout the year. Some of these are conducted alongside the PEEL inspections (for instance, our 2016 leadership assessment); others are joint inspections.
Findings from these inspections are published separately to the main PEEL reports, but are taken into account when producing the rounded assessment of each force's performance.
Police leadership is crucial in enabling a force to be effective, efficient and legitimate. This inspection focused on how a force understands, develops and displays leadership through its organisational development.
Kent Police is a well-led force. It has invested heavily in improving leadership at all levels. The chief officer team has worked extensively with its workforce in developing its leadership expectations. Consequently, these expectations are well understood at all ranks and grades across the force. The workforce is encouraged to challenge its leaders appropriately and is confident to do so via established formal routes, including cultural and ethics boards.
Gaps and areas for improvement in leadership are identified proactively; this includes considering future requirements of the force. There is a vibrant culture of proposing new ideas and the whole workforce is encouraged to put forward suggestions for innovation and improvement. A well-considered and coherent approach to leadership development is in place, with a range of development opportunities for officers and staff to help them realise their full potential.
Kent Police is highly proactive in seeking out, both externally and internally, new opportunities for improving services. The workforce is encouraged to put forward suggestions for innovation and improvement. The senior team has a clear understanding of diversity in the context of protected characteristics set out on the Equality Act 2010, and it is committed to doing more to ensure that the workforce better represents the diversity of the communities it serves. The force has adopted a wider definition of diversity, to include background, skills, experience, and personality types, to support the creation of more effective leadership teams.
This section sets out the reports published by HMIC this year that help to better understand the performance of Kent Police.