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Staffordshire PEEL 2016

Legitimacy

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

Last updated 08/12/2016
Good

Staffordshire Police 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 this respect.

The communities of Staffordshire are treated with fairness and respect, and the force acts on public feedback to improve how it treats people. Good structures and processes are in place to make sure that the workforce behaves lawfully and ethically, but more needs to be done to improve post-employment vetting arrangements. There is a strong focus on workforce wellbeing and the force responds effectively to issues and concerns raised. Improvements are needed to its performance review processes.

Staffordshire Police treats the people it serves with fairness and respect. The force is responsive to the make-up of its community and adjusts its approach to engage with and seek feedback from groups who are difficult to reach.

The force would benefit from a more structured approach to analysing feedback. This would enable it to prioritise those issues that have the greatest impact on public perceptions, and to understand whether its efforts to improve the way it treats people are making a difference.

The force ensures that its workforce behaves lawfully and ethically. It is effective at identifying threats to integrity and has the necessary processes in place to intervene early. The force should develop a robust process for post-employment vetting arrangements. The force frequently uses a range of effective methods to identify the areas which affect its workforce’s perceptions of fair and respectful treatment. The force undertakes effective and timely action in response to issues raised, such as the need for increased transparency of promotion processes.

Staffordshire Police has a clear and authentic focus on wellbeing and was the first force in England and Wales to achieve Workforce Wellbeing Charter accreditation.

A substantial number of the workforce have not completed a performance review and the force needs to develop its governance and scrutiny arrangements to ensure the performance review process is consistently and fairly applied.

Questions for Legitimacy

1

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

The force treats the people it serves with fairness and respect and this would be further enhanced through a more structured approach.

Fairness and respect underpin the force’s vision of striving to keep communities safe. Force policies reflect the principles of policing by consent. Comprehensive Code of Ethics training has equipped the workforce with the knowledge required to treat the community with fairness and respect.

Staffordshire Police is involved in a broad range of engagement activity. The force is responsive to the make-up of its community and adjusts its approach to engage with groups who are difficult to reach. The force could make more consistent use of its engagement to seek feedback and challenge about the extent to which it treats the people it serves with fairness and respect.

The force would benefit from a more structured approach to analysing feedback received from engagement across the whole force area. This would enable it to prioritise those issues that have the greatest impact on public perceptions, and to understand better whether its efforts to improve how it treats people are making a difference.

Providing more consistent feedback about changes made would demonstrate to the communities of Staffordshire that the force is listening and responding to their concerns.

Good

Areas for improvement

  • The force should improve how it seeks feedback from the people it serves about their experiences (or perceptions) of how the police have treated them.
2

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

The force ensures that its workforce behaves lawfully and ethically.

Staffordshire Police is effective at identifying threats to integrity and has the necessary processes in place to intervene early. Interventions such as vetting, regular random drug testing, use of an internal confidential reporting system and monitoring of IT systems send out a strong preventative message. The force’s use of vetting ‘aftercare’ is not yet part of routine practice and only 54 percent of the current workforce staff have been vetted to the required standards. Internal communications and a variety of training events, which incorporate the use of lessons learnt from the force’s own cases, continue to reinforce the required standards.

In cases of abuse of authority for sexual gain, professional standards officers with public protection experience work with victim advocates to demonstrate support for victims, and to encourage reporting of any suspicious behaviour. The force has developed a structured investigative response when suspicions of this type of activity are raised.

The force publishes complaint and misconduct outcomes for police officers and staff on its website. The force could use its good community links to engage more frequently to restore trust after high profile misconduct cases.

The force frequently engages with its workforce about the outcomes of misconduct and corruption cases, using a range of channels, resulting in a very clear understanding of the required standards of behaviour and the consequences of misconduct.

Good

Areas for improvement

  • The force should ensure it complies with all aspects of the current national guidelines for vetting.
    3

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

    The force frequently uses a range of effective methods to identify the areas which affect its workforce’s perceptions of fair and respectful treatment. The force undertakes effective and timely action in response to issues raised, such as the need for increased transparency of promotion processes.

    The workforce is consistently involved in decision-making, for instance staff associations were involved in choosing an ICT partner. However some members of the workforce lack confidence in the effectiveness of the force’s grievance process to provide speedy and effective resolutions.

    Staffordshire Police has a clear and authentic focus on wellbeing. The force has a wide range of wellbeing initiatives. Its approach could be further enhanced with more frequent and regular evaluation of their success. The force has been advised that it will be awarded Wellbeing Charter accreditation and the force believes it is the first in England and Wales to achieve this formal recognition.

    A substantial number of the workforce have not completed a performance review and the force needs to develop its governance and scrutiny arrangements to ensure the ‘i-matter’ performance review process becomes an everyday part of force practice and is used consistently and fairly across the force to promote development and improvement .

    Good

    Areas for improvement

    • The force should improve how it manages individual performance.