Surrey PEEL 2015
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
The force has worked successfully to introduce the Code of Ethics which sets and defines the exemplary standards of behaviour for everyone who works in policing, as well as the National Decision Model (the framework by which all policing decisions should be made, examined and challenged). The Code of Ethics is a central component of the National Decision Model.
The chief officer team takes seriously the need for an ethical workforce. Local neighbourhood policing teams have a good understanding of their area and engage positively with the public. Taser is used fairly and appropriately, and the force is complying with most aspects of the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme.
This is the first time HMIC has graded forces on their legitimacy, so no year-on-year comparison is possible.
The chief officer team works with its staff to emphasise the importance of an ethical culture and focus on the Code of Ethics which is being established within force policy and procedures. The force is committed to the wellbeing of its staff and has a programme to achieve this. The majority of staff recognise and understand the Code of Ethics, which also is a common topic in all training courses.
The workforce routinely discusses ethical issues. These are prompted by the chief officer team’s discussion and communication to the workforce of practical examples of ethical dilemmas which assist staff in understanding the practical application of the Code of Ethics.
When HMIC looked at how well the force understands and successfully works with all the people it serves, we found that Surrey has effective engagement and consultation arrangements and is committed to retaining a community focused policing model. Officers and staff understand how their actions affect public trust and confidence, and levels of public satisfaction with the force remain consistently high. As a result, the people of Surrey can be reassured that they are being treated fairly and professionally by the force.
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 the police use them fairly and appropriately. Surrey Police uses Taser fairly and appropriately. The force needs to publish more data about stop and search to improve transparency.
To what extent does practice and behaviour reinforce the wellbeing of staff and an ethical culture?
Surrey Police consistently reinforces the importance of ethical behaviour. The chief officer team is visible and approachable and engages effectively with its staff. The force has agreed a joint vision and strategy with its partner force, Sussex Police, that identifies how the Code of Ethics would be incorporated into the force’s everyday processes and practices.
The force is proactive in promoting the wellbeing of its staff and has a programme to achieve this, although some staff are concerned about excessive workloads and the effect on their wellbeing.
The majority of staff recognise and understand the Code of Ethics. It is also a common topic in all training courses, such as a recent custody officer course.
The workforce routinely discusses ethical issues. These were prompted by the chief officer team’s discussion and communication to the workforce of practical examples of ethical dilemmas which assist staff in understanding the practical application of the Code of Ethics.
We found no bias in respect of gender, ethnicity or rank in how the force dealt with complaints and internal misconduct allegations. However, some complaints could have been locally resolved and take too long to be finalised, and the range of outcomes for police staff is also inconsistent.
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?
The neighbourhood policing teams across Surrey understand their local communities, and engage with them successfully using a range of local meetings and social media.
We found well-understood links with communities at force, borough and neighbourhood levels, and the force monitors a range of national and local social media to identify potential causes of community tensions. Where necessary, the force effectively uses community impact assessments to deal with critical incidents and to resolve local neighbourhood policing issues.
The force makes regular use of surveys to discover views and levels of satisfaction and it is working with local minority groups to understand their concerns. The force wishes to increase volunteer and special constabulary support, and has appointed a coordinator to increase participation by local people in policing.
The force uses the National Decision Model effectively and staff understand that their behaviour affects the relationship with their communities. Call-takers and front desk staff are polite, friendly and helpful. People who live in the Surrey force area can be reassured that officers and staff treat people fairly and with respect.
To what extent are decisions taken on the use of stop and search and Taser fair and appropriate?
Surrey Police complies with most features of the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme. The force provides for lay observation of officers while out on patrol, and has also introduced independent scrutiny of stop and search through its ‘stopwatch’ meetings attended by members of the local communities such as the Independent Advisory Board (IAG).
Officers have a good understanding of how to apply the National Decision Model to their use of stop and search powers, and most files that we reviewed had reasonable grounds recorded.
However, the force needs to ensure that supervisors check and endorse all stop and search records.
Taser officers understand the National Decision Model and make adequate records of their Taser use. Surrey monitors and evaluates the use of Taser across the force but it does not publish this data. The use of Taser is fair and appropriate in Surrey.
As Surrey 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.