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Metropolitan PEEL 2016

Legitimacy

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

Last updated 08/12/2016
Good

The Metropolitan Police Service has been assessed as good in respect of the legitimacy with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. Our findings this year are consistent with last year’s findings, in which we judged the force to be good in respect of legitimacy. The force works hard to ensure it treats all of the people it serves, and its workforce, with fairness and respect, but it needs to improve the way it ensures its workforce is behaving ethically and lawfully.

The Metropolitan Police Service is working hard to ensure it treats all of the people it serves with fairness and respect. It understands the importance of this and how it affects public confidence in the force. The force has an engagement strategy and seeks feedback from the public, regularly reviewing results from the public attitude survey. Borough confidence plans help guide local community engagement activity, but not all officers we spoke with were aware of their local plan, and some survey results suggest more needs to be done.

The force requires improvement in ensuring that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully. New recruits receive training based on the force’s values, ethics and professionalism and the workforce is aware of the Code of Ethics and the force’s values. The force has a vetting policy and procedure, but it carries out re-vetting based on business needs, which is not in line with the national policy. It clarifies and reinforces acceptable behaviour, and officers and staff are confident about reporting concerns to their supervisor. The force provides its workforce with awareness training about inappropriate relationships. However, the force recognises the abuse of authority for sexual gain as serious misconduct, as opposed to serious corruption, and does not have a counter-corruption strategic risk assessment or a control strategy. Further, the force does not actively seek intelligence on corrupt activities.

The Metropolitan Police Service is good in how it treats its workforce with fairness and respect. It uses a range of methods to identify and understand the areas affecting workforce perceptions of fair and respectful treatment. The force’s review of its performance appraisal process reflected the workforce’s dissatisfaction with it and they have taken steps to improve it. The force has invested in wellbeing and comprehensive guidance is available on the force intranet. Supervisors receive training and told us that they are clear about their wellbeing responsibilities. However, inconsistency among supervisors in providing support to those who need it remains a problem for the force. The force is intent on improving wellbeing provision so it is more consistently applied.

Questions for Legitimacy

1

To what extent does the force treat all of the people it serves with fairness and respect?

The Metropolitan Police Service works hard to ensure it treats all of the people it serves with fairness and respect. It understands the importance of doing so and how fairness and respect links to increased public confidence in the force. The results of the joint force and Mayor’s Office for Police and Crime youth survey indicate there is more to do as only 58 percent of 17 to 18-year-olds agree that they would be treated fairly and with respect.

The force’s organisational values of integrity, professionalism, courage and compassion support its vision to make London the safest global city. The professionalism board ensures workforce awareness of the Code of Ethics and the force’s values; officers and staff we spoke to had a good understanding of the Code. New recruits are given training based on the force’s values, ethics and professionalism.

The force has an engagement strategy and uses various ways to seek feedback from the public on matters such as fair treatment. The results and trends from the public attitude survey are reviewed quarterly. As part of the force’s listening campaign, each borough has a confidence plan that helps to guide local community engagement activity, although not all officers we spoke to were aware of their local plan. The listening campaign helped the force identify communities of which it had been unaware, and can now work with.

Good
2

How well does the force ensure that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully?

The Metropolitan Police Service requires improvement in ensuring that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully. The force notes any deviations from the national police vetting policy and the reasons for them. The force takes a risk-based approach to reviewing failed vetting applications to assist in its objective to recruit staff that better reflect the diversity of the communities it serves. However, it carries out the re-vetting of officers and staff on a business-need basis, which means it does not comply with the national policy.

The force clarifies and continues to reinforce acceptable behaviours in a variety of ways. Officers and staff can use the confidential reporting service or Crimestoppers to report matters of concern, and are confident about reporting concerns to their supervisor or manager. The force has made good progress on the recommendations made in HMIC’s 2014 police integrity and corruption report. However, the directorate of professional standards does not have a counter-corruption strategic risk assessment or a control strategy and, because of a lack of investigative capacity, it does not actively seek intelligence on corrupt activities by the workforce.

The force recognises the abuse of authority for sexual gain as serious misconduct, as opposed to serious corruption. The force provides awareness training about inappropriate relationships, although some officers and staff said that they had not received the awareness training.

Requires improvement

Areas for improvement

  • The force should ensure it complies with all aspects of the current national guidelines for vetting.
  • Annually, the force should produce a local counter-corruption strategic assessment and control strategy, to identify risks to the force’s integrity.
  • The force should improve how it clarifies and reinforces standards of behaviour to its workforce, particularly with regard to the abuse of authority for sexual gain, which should be recognised as a form of serious corruption.
3

To what extent does the force treat its workforce with fairness and respect?

The Metropolitan Police Service is good at treating its workforce with fairness and respect. It uses a range of methods to identify and understand the areas that have the greatest impact on workforce perceptions and takes action to address these. The force’s review of its performance appraisal process reflected the workforce’s dissatisfaction with it.

The force is intent on improving the performance appraisal process for the workforce. The pilot in May 2016 was still to be evaluated at the time of our inspection but, if positive, a new process will be implemented across the force to improve performance and fairness.

The force uses operational health risk assessments to help develop wellbeing controls in certain roles. We found that provision of psychological support in high-risk roles was very good.
Comprehensive guidance on wellbeing is available on the force intranet and the force runs campaigns covering different wellbeing issues. Supervisors receive training and told us that they understand clearly their wellbeing responsibilities. However, inconsistency among supervisors in providing support to those who need it remains a problem for the force. The force is intent on improving wellbeing provision so it is more consistently applied and the new performance appraisal process is a significant step forward in improving performance and fairness.

Good

Areas for improvement

  • The force should ensure that its supervisors can recognise and provide support with wellbeing issues.
  • The force should improve how it manages individual performance.