West Yorkshire PEEL 2016
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
West Yorkshire Police has been assessed as good in respect of the legitimacy with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime.
West Yorkshire Police is good in its external fairness and respect, ethical and lawful behaviour, and its internal fairness and respect. The culture of the force reflects this through fair and respectful treatment of people, and ethical, lawful approaches to integrity. The organisation’s fair and respectful treatment of its workforce and concern for their welfare and wellbeing also demonstrates this. Senior leaders actively promote the force’s values, and staff are positive about the force’s culture.
West Yorkshire Police shows that it understands the importance of treating people fairly through its stated purpose and values, which are in line with the Code of Ethics. These are included in training, and are part of everyday practice. The force seeks feedback and challenge from the communities it serves through surveys, scrutiny panels and independent advisory groups (IAGs), which work with support networks and charities to encourage those who have become disengaged or are less likely to complain to provide valuable feedback.
The force strives to make sure that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully, by effectively vetting new recruits and developing a culture within which officers and staff know the standards expected of them. The force could do more to make sure that its workforce learns from examples where conduct has fallen below these standards.
West Yorkshire Police uses both formal and informal methods to work with and seek challenge from its workforce to identify issues of fair and respectful treatment. These include a staff survey and established business change processes that involve meaningful consultation with officers and staff on issues which affect them.
The force demonstrates an understanding of and commitment to the wellbeing of its workforce – including mental health issues – through effective governance, assessment and training, and evidence of early intervention to stop wellbeing issues from escalating.
Staff have an annual personal development review (referred to as PDR), with periodic meetings with line managers throughout the year; the process enables the force to deal effectively with poor performance, and to recognise and develop positive performance.
To what extent does the force treat all of the people it serves with fairness and respect?
West Yorkshire Police is good at treating all the people it serves with fairness and respect, including those who have less trust and confidence in the police. The force demonstrates that it understands the importance of treating people fairly and with respect through its purpose and values, which are in line with the Code of Ethics and understood by its workforce.
The force seeks feedback and challenge from the people it serves in a number of ways, including perception surveys, public scrutiny panels and independent advisory groups, to make sure that it understands how the public views its services. It collaborates with support networks and charities that work with people who have disengaged from the force, or who are less likely to complain or provide feedback. Through its equality board and integrity and ethics board, the force seeks to improve the way in which it treats people and shares its learning across the force. The force updates the public on the changes it has made through its website and social media, and by informing community leaders and members of support networks, who will then disseminate those messages more widely.
How well does the force ensure that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully?
The force works hard to make sure that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully by developing a culture whereby officers and staff know the standards that are expected and the likely outcomes if they are not met. The force could do more to make sure that its workforce has heard the lessons that have been learned from others whose conduct has fallen below these standards.
The force has effective vetting for its staff and volunteers working within the force. There are processes to identify and manage threats to the integrity of the force. Officers have to record all offers of gifts and hospitality along with registering business interests and notifying the force of any associations that may cause concern to the force.
The force seeks intelligence and interrogates its ICT databases for information that may indicate corrupt activities, including the abuse of authority by officers for sexual gain with vulnerable victims or witnesses. The force publishes the results of misconduct and corruption hearings. It also publicises the future dates of public misconduct hearings, should the public or press wish to attend.
In our 2016 national overview of police legitimacy, we recommended that all forces should have started to implement a plan to achieve the capability and capacity required to seek intelligence on potential abuse of position for sexual gain. In 2017, we reviewed of the plans put in place by all forces to in response to this recommendation.
Areas for improvement
- The force should ensure that it complies with all aspects of the current national guidelines for vetting.
To what extent does the force treat its workforce with fairness and respect?
West Yorkshire Police is good at treating its workforce with fairness and respect. The force uses both formal and informal methods to identify issues of fairness and respectful treatment. It has undertaken a further staff survey since HMIC’s last inspection, which showed improvements in workforce perceptions in a number of areas. The force has well-established business change processes that see the workforce being kept up to date and consulted on areas that affect it.
The force has demonstrated its understanding and commitment to the wellbeing of the workforce including the force’s wellbeing and engagement group, one district’s ‘excellent’ assessment against the workforce wellbeing charter and training for staff to monitor and support the mental health of others. The force has an effective process to manage individual performance through an annual PDR, with periodic line management meetings throughout the year to assess progress against objectives.
Areas for improvement
- The force should improve how it communicates the action it has taken in response to issues identified by the workforce.