Leicestershire PEEL 2015
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
The chief officer team is fully committed to the need for an ethical and inclusive workforce. There are appropriate arrangements in place to support the wellbeing of officers and staff. There is a good understanding by local teams of their neighbourhoods and they engage positively with the public. Taser is used fairly and appropriately by officers who are well trained.
This is the first time HMIC has graded forces on their legitimacy, so no year-on-year comparison is possible.
The force has a well established set of values that promote ethical behaviour that has been championed by the chief officer team. The approach the force is taking to the Code of Ethics is positive, and there is appropriate information available to the workforce.
There are a number of wellbeing initiatives to support officers and staff, who are positive about this provision. The professional standards department carries out the assessment of all complaints and all internal misconduct allegations. This approach produces consistency and fairness in decision-making for both police officer and police staff cases.
When HMIC looked at how well the force understands and engages with all the people it serves, we found a number of examples where neighbourhood teams engage well with their communities. Officers attend local community events where they speak to the public and make available crime prevention literature, equipment and provide other general advice. The range of channels used includes social media, press releases and consultation exercises, and the force has a good understanding of the needs and concerns of the public.
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. The force is not complying with all aspects of the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme. In particular, the force is not recording whether or not the outcome of the search relates to the item searched for; it does not publish all the information required; and although it monitors the impact of stop and search on black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people, it does not monitor the impact on young people. The force has now put in place appropriate arrangements for monitoring and independent scrutiny.
More positively, Taser is used fairly and appropriately by a small number of highly trained officers, who understand their responsibility to consider all tactical options when using Taser.
To what extent does practice and behaviour reinforce the wellbeing of staff and an ethical culture?
Leicestershire Police’s approach to the Code of Ethics is positive and there is appropriate information available to the workforce among a number of positive findings. Some officers feel that promotion processes are not always fair and the force is working to understand the under-representation of females and black, Asian and ethnic minority people in a recent promotion process.
The force is taking positive steps to promote and improve the wellbeing of officers and staff. An organisational health check identified skills and knowledge gaps in mental health and the force responded positively to this with a number of initiatives including a mental health awareness week. The force provides a number of other wellbeing initiatives to support officers and staff, such as fitness classes and cycle to work schemes.
The professional standards department carries out the assessment of all complaints and internal misconduct allegations. This structure provides consistency and fairness in decision-making for both police officer and police staff cases. Complaints and misconduct are dealt with fairly and consistently with investigations being free from bias. There is ongoing work to reduce the time taken to investigate a complaint but the decision maker for dealing with complaints is not at the correct level as required by the legislation.
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?
Officers and staff in Leicestershire Police create and maintain good relationships with their communities and they have a good understanding of their needs and concerns.
Leicestershire Police engages well with the communities that it serves. The force is willing to engage with the public and be transparent in how the public views its work. The force uses a range of methods to achieve this, including beat meetings: community meetings; social media; and information leaflets.
The force’s website contains useful information that the public can readily access about what is happening in their area and about the force itself.
Volunteers are being used in the force and carry out a range of activities such as community speed watch schemes, operating CCTV systems, and inputting information on to police computer systems on behalf of officers.
Officers and staff in Leicestershire Police treat people fairly and with respect when they come into contact with them. There is a good awareness of the National Decision Model (the framework by which all policing decisions should be made, examined and challenged).
To what extent are decisions taken on the use of stop and search and Taser fair and appropriate?
Leicestershire Police is not complying with all aspects of the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme. It does not record and publish in enough detail all the outcomes from stop and search encounters and it provides limited opportunities for the public to observe a stop and search. Also, the force is not monitoring the impact of stop and search on young or black, Asian and minority ethnic people.
However, there is good evidence to show officers understand the legal requirements relating to stop and search, and the force puts a great deal of effort into ensuring these powers are used fairly and appropriately. In most cases, reasonable grounds are properly recorded.
In Leicestershire, Taser is used fairly and appropriately by a small number of highly trained officers, who are part of a four force collaboration in the East Midlands region. Officers are well trained and understand their responsibility to consider all tactical options when using Taser.
As Leicestershire Police was not compliant in three or more 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.
Areas for improvement
- The force should ensure that officers fully understand the features of the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme.
- The force should put in place an action plan setting out how it will comply with all the features of Best Use of Stop and Search scheme. HMIC will revisit the force within six months to determine what improvements have been made.
- The force should ensure that Taser-trained officers properly understand and record their decisions using the National Decision Model in accordance with the College of Policing training.