Derbyshire PEEL 2016
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Derbyshire Constabulary has been assessed as outstanding in respect of the legitimacy with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. Our findings this year are an improvement on last year’s findings, in which we judged the force to be good in respect of legitimacy.
The force has strong ethical values. It seeks feedback from the public about how they feel they have been treated by the force and it scrutinises performance information in detail to make sure the public are being treated fairly. The force has an outstanding capability to seek out, detect and react to police corruption. The workforce feel well treated and valued by the force, and able to raise concerns with senior officers.
Derbyshire Constabulary is outstanding in the way it treats the people it serves with fairness and respect. It operates using a clear, well-defined set of values that are thoroughly understood by members of the workforce, at all ranks and grades. The force’s values are in line with the Code of Ethics, and emphasise the importance of fair and respectful treatment. A genuinely ethical, values-based culture exists within the force.
The force seeks feedback from all parts of the community it serves, including those people with less trust and confidence in the police. It is increasing the range of methods used to detect issues that have the greatest impact on the public’s perceptions of fair and respectful treatment by the police. The force is fully committed to working with partner agencies to tackle hate crime and improve support to victims. It is continuing to improve its services by reacting to feedback, and now has a digital police community support officer (PCSO) to help promote faster access to police services and safety information online.
We also found that Derbyshire Constabulary is outstanding at ensuring that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully. It operates thorough vetting processes, in line with the national police vetting policy, and members of the workforce know when to refer changes in their circumstances to the professional standards department (PSD). Post-employment checks are carried out and cases of vetting failure are reviewed to ensure that people with protected characteristics, such as age, disability or gender reassignment, are not affected disproportionately. The force has developed innovative covert techniques to look for and develop intelligence relating to corruption, making early recognition and intervention possible.
The force fully understands the risk of police officers abusing their authority for sexual gain (taking advantage of their position of power to exploit vulnerable victims of crime), having learned from a local case in 2012. It has a programme of awareness training to emphasise the expectations for the whole workforce if unprofessional behaviour towards victims or witnesses occurs.
Members of the workforce we met told us that they feel that they are treated with fairness and respect. They feel that they can give feedback to the force about concerns they might have and that their views will be listened to. The force has a strong commitment to the wellbeing of its workforce and provides a wide range of occupational health services, covering physical, emotional and mental health.
All staff receive an annual appraisal from their supervisor along with regular performance meetings throughout the year. We found that staff consider the assessments to be fair and that compliance is monitored by the force.
To what extent does the force treat all of the people it serves with fairness and respect?
Derbyshire Constabulary is outstanding at treating all the people it serves with fairness and respect. It operates to a clear and thoroughly understood set of values that are in line with the Code of Ethics, emphasising the importance of fair and respectful treatment. We found that officers and staff, at all levels, can relate to its values and that a genuinely ethical, values-based culture exists within the force.
The force seeks feedback and challenge from communities across the force area, including those with less trust and confidence in the police. It is also developing an increasing range of methods to detect issues having the greatest impact on perceptions of fair and respectful treatment.
The confidence and ethics board, chaired by the deputy chief constable and attended by senior leaders, the OPCC and the IAG, scrutinises a comprehensive range of performance information covering a wide range of public confidence and satisfaction data. There is a focus towards hate crime and any variances in the confidence or satisfaction rates reported by minority groups. Two new posts have been created within corporate communications to improve understanding of community perceptions about the force.
The force has demonstrated a strong commitment to understanding community perceptions through the long-term engagement and cohesion activity in Shirebrook. Similarly, to reflect changes in how information is accessed by the public across the county, the Digital PCSO allows the force to promote police services and safety information more quickly and to more sections of the local community.
How well does the force ensure that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully?
The force is outstanding at ensuring that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully. It operates thorough and appropriate vetting processes. All officers and staff we spoke to about vetting are aware of their status and know when to report changes in their circumstances. Vetting aftercare is carried out and trends in vetting failures are monitored. A new process reconsiders vetting failures of people with protected characteristics. Decisions about applications for business interests take into consideration a wide range of information and refusals are followed up to ensure compliance.
The force has developed a wide range of techniques to gather and develop intelligence about corruption, including sophisticated monitoring of force ICT systems, work with support groups for vulnerable members of the community and confidential reporting methods for those communities.
The force has responded positively to HMIC’s police integrity and corruption report recommendation and a comprehensive counter-corruption strategy is in place. The force has developed innovative covert techniques to look for and develop intelligence, specifically in areas of police duties that involve contact with the most vulnerable members of society.
The force has built on local experience of an officer abusing his authority for sexual gain and learned from lessons elsewhere to inform an awareness programme on appropriate behaviour.
The force publicises forthcoming misconduct hearings on its website, which includes detailed information about attending open hearings, and takes a proactive approach to sustaining public confidence during misconduct 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.
To what extent does the force treat its workforce with fairness and respect?
The force is good at treating its workforce with fairness and respect. It seeks to identify and understand the issues that impact on staff feelings of fair and respectful treatment. A whole-workforce survey happened in 2015. However, staff whom we spoke to are not aware of changes resulting from the survey.
The force demonstrates a strong commitment to the health and wellbeing of the workforce and is continually developing its understanding of the threats and risk to these.
Preventative activity to promote physical and mental wellbeing is happening and new training packages for supervisors about emotional resilience and mindfulness have been developed in co-operation with external experts.
The force has arrangements in place for all staff to receive a PDR with their supervisor every year but PDRs are not linked to a system to analyse performance or identify training needs across the workforce. Staff consider that PDRs are necessary as opposed to being valuable. The force has improved career pathways for detectives and increased provision for self-development through psychometric testing and mentoring.