Merseyside PEEL 2015
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
HMIC found there is a strong ethical culture within Merseyside Police, and the force has established practices to support the wellbeing of staff and deal with complaints and misconduct in a fair and appropriate way.
Merseyside Police engages well with its communities using a range of methods, and officers and staff understand the importance of treating people fairly and with respect. The force complies with all features of the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme apart from the need to publish data. Taser is used fairly and appropriately.
This is the first time HMIC has graded forces on their legitimacy, so no year-on-year comparison is possible.
HMIC found there is a strong ethical culture within Merseyside Police. The Code of Ethics is fully integrated into the force’s vision which has been clearly communicated to staff and integrated within force policy, practice and most training.
The force has established a range of practices to support the wellbeing of staff and the majority of staff we spoke to felt supported. HMIC found that the force deals with complaints and misconduct in a fair and appropriate way.
When HMIC looked at how well the force understands and engages with all the people it serves, we found that Merseyside Police fully understood the relationship between engagement and legitimacy and we found commitment to neighbourhood policing and engagement. The force effectively engages with the public through conventional meetings, face-to-face within the communities it serves, and through creative and tailored communication campaigns. It utilises information well from a range of sources at a local level, and through social media, although recognises it could do more to gain better insight of the results of this activity at a force level. As a result we are satisfied that the force has a reasonable understanding of the needs and concerns of the public, more so at a local level than at force level.
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 Merseyside Police complies with all the features of the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme apart from publishing data. Taser officers are fully trained and the use and oversight of the deployment of Taser is well managed.
To what extent does practice and behaviour reinforce the wellbeing of staff and an ethical culture?
HMIC found that Merseyside Police’s chief officer team clearly communicates to its workforce the values and behaviours expected of them via the ‘Just Trilogy’ (Just Talk, Just Think, Just Lead) vision. The force has a strong ethical culture and has embedded the Code of Ethics into its vision, policy, practice and most training. We found that staff have a good understanding of what is expected of them.
The force has established a comprehensive range of provision to support the wellbeing of staff, and the majority of staff we spoke to felt supported. There has been a focus on sickness reporting with an emphasis on supporting those who are genuinely sick. However, some staff we spoke to felt unable to report sickness for fear that it might affect their promotion or other employment prospects.
The views of staff are welcomed through the ‘Just Trilogy’ road shows, and senior leader forums, however the force can do more to understand the specific views of staff through conducting a regular survey. We found that although the majority of staff feel they are able to constructively challenge views, some expressed that they feel they can’t speak freely about their ideas.
The force deals fairly and consistently with complaints and misconduct but we were disappointed to find that some cases have not been assessed by a staff member of suitable seniority and that some allegations are not being recorded in a timely manner.
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.
How well does the force understand, engage with and treat fairly the people it serves to maintain and improve its legitimacy?
Merseyside Police understands the relationship between engagement and legitimacy at both a strategic and local level. There is a commitment by officers and staff in Merseyside to both neighbourhood policing and engaging with the public more generally. Officers and staff understand the importance of treating people fairly and with respect, and the link this has with public confidence.
The force effectively engages with the public through conventional meetings, and face to face within the communities it serves. We were impressed by the engagement with the public made through creative and tailored communication campaigns. It uses information well from a range of sources at a local level, and through social media, although recognises it could do more to gain better insight of the results of this activity at a force level.
At a strategic level the force values its engagement with a range of communities represented on its independent advisory groups. It also engages well in encouraging the participation of volunteers to carry out various policing activities within the force.
To what extent are decisions taken on the use of stop and search and Taser fair and appropriate?
HMIC is satisfied that Merseyside Police complies with all features of the stop and search scheme apart from the need to publish data. There is good use made of independent scrutiny of the use of stop and search powers, although the force could provide the public with a greater understanding of the use of the powers through publication of data on its website.
During the fieldwork we found that officers have a good understanding of the principles of the scheme and that there is effective oversight and scrutiny. Officers in Merseyside Police use the National Decision Model (the framework by which all policing decisions should be made, examined and challenged) to good effect.
Taser officers are well trained and there is robust oversight of the deployment of Taser. There is also an effective review process.
As Merseyside Police was not compliant in one or two 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.