Wiltshire PEEL 2016
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Wiltshire Police has been assessed as good in respect of the legitimacy with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. The force has values and behaviours that are clearly understood by the workforce and in line with the Code of Ethics. Treating the people it serves fairly and with respect is at the core of the force values and behaviours, and forms the basis of all training. 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 has clear and well-understood values and behaviours that mirror the nine elements of the Code of Ethics. These values and behaviours are embedded within the annual appraisal process and are at the heart of all training.
There is frequent interaction between the workforce and senior officers and, through the chief officers’ web chats and roadshows, and extensive leadership development and communication programmes, the force is able to assess threats and risks to staff wellbeing effectively.
The force has effective processes for vetting and follows national guidelines. Vetting is an agenda item for recruitment and selection meetings for all staff and volunteers, and it is an important element of the annual appraisal process.
The force values and seeks to promote the wellbeing of its staff. It has appointed a mental health nurse to assist because the force has identified an increasing number of psychological issues from its sickness data. Occupational health is available and is perceived as a valuable resource. The force has introduced a confidential care line for self-referrals.
The force could do more to work directly with the public, in particular those who may have less trust and confidence in the police. Its involvement is not innovative and it does not have an independent advisory group (IAG) or key individual network (KIN). Its external channels for challenge and feedback are less well developed than its internal processes.
To what extent does the force treat all of the people it serves with fairness and respect?
Wiltshire Police is good at treating the people it serves with fairness and respect. Its values and behaviours, which are in line with the police Code of Ethics, are widely understood. The force has good arrangements in place to make sure that the workforce has the skills to understand the need to treat the public with fairness and respect. It has an engagement strategy that outlines the ways in which it will involve, consult and communicate with the public. To understand better the impact of a number of specific force strategies, policies and procedures, it has commissioned an external company to conduct a review. With regard to working with hard-to-reach communities, the force is using consumer data to better understand their demographics. In addition, the force uses social media to obtain feedback from the public. It explores the views and perceptions of the public in a variety of ways, including through surveys and local contact. It then uses the feedback from public consultation to improve services, inform training and shape policy. However, many of the activities that the force has implemented are in their early stages and we look forward to seeing the benefits in the longer term. The force does not have an independent advisory group or a key individual network to encourage those identified as having less trust and confidence in the police to have their say.
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.
How well does the force ensure that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully?
The force is good at ensuring that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully. It operates a comprehensive vetting process and a higher level of vetting is applied to roles that represent a greater risk to the organisation. The annual appraisal process includes a requirement to discuss any changes in personal circumstances, in line with force policy.
The values and behaviours expected of staff are clearly understood. They feature in annual appraisals and training sessions, and the force routinely checks the integrity of the workforce and its behaviours. However, the force does not have a counter-corruption strategy to identify future risks to the organisation. It is possible to report wrongdoing anonymously and there is support available for those wishing to do so. The force has a code of ethics committee, which makes decisions around ethical dilemmas that may affect the morale or wellbeing of the workforce. This subsequently informs force training and the chief constable’s road shows. The public have access to misconduct hearings and the force publishes the outcomes of such cases.
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
- Annually, the force should produce a local counter-corruption strategic assessment and control strategy, to identify risks to the force’s integrity.
To what extent does the force treat its workforce with fairness and respect?
The force is outstanding in the way it treats its workforce with fairness and respect. It uses a variety of methods to seek the views of staff regularly. These include internal surveys, face-to-face meetings and the chief officer’s web chats. The chief constable and the chief officer team have created a culture of challenge and open communication. Without exception, everyone we spoke to during the inspection commented on positive improvements made to the force culture and told us that they are treated with fairness and respect. Officers and staff told us that if they had a problem or concern they could raise this in a number of different ways and that they would be listened to.
The chief constable has conducted road shows, during which he has met every supervisor and manager to ascertain their views on wellbeing, fairness and respect. The force understands and values the wellbeing of the workforce and has a range of processes in place to ensure that they have appropriate support and assistance. For example, the force has introduced a confidential care line where officers and staff can receive counselling and advice on a number of issues. An understanding of wellbeing forms an integral part of the leadership programme. The annual performance and assessment process is effective in supporting high performers within the leadership programme and addressing issues of underperformance through a structured, supportive action plans. This process is viewed by the workforce as being fair and transparent.