Hampshire PEEL 2016
How well has the force performed in our other inspections?
In addition to the three core PEEL pillars, HMICFRS carries out inspections of a wide range of policing activity throughout the year. Some of these are conducted alongside the PEEL inspections; others are joint inspections.
Findings from these inspections are published separately to the main PEEL reports, but are taken into account when producing the rounded assessment of each force's performance.
Police leadership is crucial in enabling a force to be effective, efficient and legitimate. This inspection focused on how a force understands, develops and displays leadership through its organisational development.
Hampshire Constabulary has developed a vision for 2020, which describes the types of workforce and leadership behaviours necessary for the force to provide policing services as the needs of the community change. It has worked well to improve its leadership capability, and has developed specific leadership training to grow the capability of its leaders. We found that this is having a positive effect, which should be enhanced even further if the force extends this to raise awareness among the workforce about the force’s expectations for leaders. The force is developing its understanding of leadership capabilities across the organisation. This understanding is more detailed around capacity than in respect of capabilities or experience. There are firm plans to address this gap. These plans should help the force to build on the work it has done to develop its understanding of leadership capabilities across the organisation and to develop diverse teams.
The force has a positive approach to innovation, evidence-based policing, and has a good track record of bringing in new ideas to improve service to the public. It could, however, do more to capture internally-generated good practice. Some staff are unclear about how to bring good ideas to the attention of senior officers.
How well does the force understand leadership?
A good understanding of leadership capabilities and expectations is critical to the effective functioning of forces. How forces engage with their workforces when setting leadership expectations is vital in ensuring that police staff and officers feel enabled to lead in an ethical way and to challenge the expectations appropriately.
Forces’ understanding should also extend to their leadership strengths and weaknesses across every rank and grade. This includes an understanding of leadership styles and personality types of individuals, and how they affect wider team dynamics. Forces should be able to take this knowledge and use it to adapt quickly to identify any gaps or issues in leadership.
Hampshire Constabulary has worked with some of the workforce in setting its leadership expectations and has demonstrated that it is open to challenge. The force has engaged with the workforce about their perceptions of leadership, which has allowed people across the force to contribute to the way that leadership expectations have been developed. This has formed the basis for the training that has since been given to over 600 staff in supervisory positions. The force has also created a leading people performance course, one aim of which is to raise awareness among supervisors about what is required of them in terms of leadership.
A preliminary evaluation of the course by people who had been on it was positive, but beyond those who received this training, understanding of leadership expectations remains low. Of those staff we interviewed, who were not in supervisory positions, most did not see themselves as leaders and therefore felt that the expectations of leadership were not relevant to them. The force is now running team-building events to gather information about leadership capabilities and plans to extend these events across the organisation. It has not, so far, carried out a full audit of leadership skills, styles and personal aptitudes, or adopted other systematic approaches to enable it to understand its leadership gaps fully. The force is working to improve the understanding of leadership across the organisation.
How well does the force develop leadership?
The way in which a force identifies and develops leadership skills is crucial in making sure they perform well now and in the future. Forces should identify leadership development programmes, containing a broad range of approaches, beyond just formal training, to develop leadership.
Forces’ knowledge of their current leadership capability should also mean that they are aware of the leadership skills and experience they do not currently possess, and are seeking to recruit to address this.
Hampshire Constabulary recognises the importance of spotting and developing talent and has some mechanisms in place to identify potential leaders. At the time of the inspection, the force was running the first session of its new talent management programme known as Firefly. Members of staff apply to take part in this scheme, and, during their time on it, they develop and implement an organisational improvement project. However, despite extensive publicity, it had not received as high level of interest as the force had hoped. The force also uses less formal talent-spotting mechanisms, such as the annual performance and development review process, but because the results are not collated automatically, the force is unable to assess the overall impact on its leadership capabilities. The force makes limited, although increasing, use of recruitment opportunities to enhance leadership and aims to take one superintendent and one inspector as Direct Entry candidates in 2016.
The force has its own leadership development programme and participates in external programmes. It assesses the impact of some of them. Development opportunities open to all staff include access to a mentor, secondments to the internal change team, and support for academic qualifications, such as a master’s degree in criminology. Newly promoted superintendents receive six months of coaching on promotion, and the force is part of the National Police Promotions Framework (NPPF) for sergeants and inspectors. All newly promoted staff attend the force’s new manager course, which receives very high levels of positive feedback from staff who have been on it.
The force is able to respond to leadership capacity problems as they develop, using its resource management board. Because there is no formal repository of information about the leadership capability or capacity of individuals, decisions are taken on the basis of informal knowledge, rather than on a comprehensive assessment of the best person for each role.
Areas for improvement
- To enhance its current talent programme, activities and plans further, Hampshire Constabulary should identify any barriers which deter otherwise suitable staff from applying.
How well does the force display leadership?
Good leadership encourages and develops a wide range of people, embraces change and actively supports the development of new ideas. While it is important for forces to ensure that they are representative of the communities they serve, truly diverse leadership teams are built around the wider experience, background and skills of individuals.
Hampshire Constabulary welcomes new ideas from other forces and adopts them swiftly. It is in partnership with three academic institutions from which it recruits interns and students. A good example of the positive impact that this has had is the award-winning project Cara, which improved outcomes for victims of domestic abuse. The force has also developed its own innovative practice, such as the Forensic Innovation Centre at Portsmouth University through which it provides all of its digital forensic services. An evidence-based policing board scrutinises new ideas, and an operational learning team provides a way of bringing external good practice into the organisation. Tracking the application of learning by teams across the force and discovering good practice developed in local commands would enhance the work of the organisational learning team.
The force welcomes innovation but staff told us that the arrangements for submitting new ideas were not straightforward. This is disappointing, given that we had noted in the past that the ending of the force’s staff suggestion scheme has created a potential gap. Moreover, with the exception of the ideas which are being developed through the Firefly talent management programme, we did not find that examples of suggestions from the workforce (or good practice at a local level) result in an idea being adopted and implemented across the organisation.
The force is starting to develop diverse leadership teams and is now carrying out personality profiling of senior officers, which should help it to achieve the right blend of approaches and skills. The force recognises that the absence of detailed analysis makes it difficult to develop a true picture of the diversity among its teams, and has plans to address this as part of its broader change programme. Nevertheless, it is making some progress, particularly in relation to people with protected characteristics such as race, gender and sexuality. During the 12 months to 31 March 2016, it has achieved a 5.8 percent level of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BME) recruitment against a target of 5.5 percent. There are female and BME role models in high profile leadership positions, and a separate chief officer champions the needs of people with protected characteristics such as age, disability, and gender.