Cheshire PEEL 2017
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Cheshire Constabulary is judged as good at how legitimately it keeps people safe and reduces crime. For the areas of legitimacy we assessed this year, our overall judgment is the same as last year. The constabulary is judged to be good at treating all of the people it serves with fairness and respect. It is also judged to be good at ensuring its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully and good at treating its workforce with fairness and respect.
Cheshire Constabulary is assessed as good in the legitimacy with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. The constabulary shows clear leadership through its ‘We’re here’ values so that the workforce understands and uses these values in public encounters. It has many established methods of seeking external challenge and feedback from the public to influence how it operates, but could improve its work with its independent advisory group. Since 2015, the constabulary has significantly improved its performance in stop and search monitoring. The constabulary does not currently comply fully with the national minimum standard on recording the use of force and monitors a limited data set. Monitoring of the use of all types of force should be developed further.
The constabulary’s leadership maintain and develop the ethical culture of the constabulary. We found knowledge of ethical decision-making throughout the workforce and the constabulary provides lessons learned and guidance to inform staff. The constabulary has good systems for the public to make a complaint against the constabulary and complaints are investigated to a good standard, although some administrative procedures could be clarified. It correctly identifies cases of discrimination and provides a good level of service to complainants. The constabulary is making progress in re-vetting its staff and it is confident it will complete this by March 2018.
Cheshire Constabulary treats its workforce with fairness and respect. Its workforce can communicate with management and the constabulary has responded positively by making changes when possible, but it could further enhance its consultation processes. The constabulary has clear grievance procedures, which were trusted by the majority of people we spoke to. The constabulary could record and monitor more effectively the interventions used in resolving workplace problems to identify any trends. Wellbeing is a clear priority and the constabulary has invested in mental health awareness and support. The constabulary is excellent at addressing disproportionality in its workforce, and this has been recognised in national awards. HMICFRS recognises the considerable energy put into improving management of individual performance, but the constabulary needs to ensure one-to-one conversations with members of the workforce take place consistently for performance and wellbeing matters. The constabulary has developed excellent promotion processes that its workforce considers to be clear and fair.
To what extent does the force treat all of the people it serves with fairness and respect?
Cheshire Constabulary is good at treating the people it serves with fairness and respect. The constabulary’s chief officer team provides clear leadership on the constabulary’s values, with the aim of ensuring the workforce understand and use the values and show an awareness of procedural justice when dealing with the public. All the officers and staff we spoke to during this inspection demonstrated that they understood the constabulary’s values. We found a good understanding of both unconscious bias and the importance of communication skills among the workforce. The constabulary has many established methods of seeking external challenge and feedback, but could further develop its work with its independent advisory group. The improvements made to stop and search, including in the recording of reasonable grounds, the monitoring of data and public scrutiny, are impressive. The constabulary should now apply this experience to make similar improvements in the data and analysis on the use of force.
Areas for improvement
- The constabulary should ensure that it records and monitors its officers’ use of force comprehensively and complies with the NPCC recording requirements.
- The constabulary should review and develop its independent advisory group arrangements, including being chaired independently and with regular senior officer attendance. These should include guidance to bring governance and consistency for local policing unit chief inspectors in developing local community cohesion groups.
How well does the force ensure that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully?
Cheshire Constabulary is good at ensuring its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully. There is excellent leadership from the constabulary to maintain and develop its ethical culture. We found awareness and examples of ethical decision making throughout the workforce. The constabulary publicises lessons learned and provides guidance to inform staff continually. It is easy for the public to make complaints, and, in general, the constabulary investigates complaints to a good standard and provides a good level of service. The constabulary identifies cases of discrimination correctly and provides a good level of service to complainants. The constabulary is making progress with its re-vetting backlog and is confident it will complete its re-vetting by March 2018. The constabulary should improve its process to allow the workforce to raise ethical concerns with the ethics board.
Areas for improvement
- The constabulary should ensure that it provides complainants with sufficient information about their complaint, in line with IPCC statutory guidance, and improve the quality and timeliness of updates to complainants in line with IPCC statutory guidance.
To what extent does the force treat its workforce with fairness and respect?
Cheshire Constabulary treats its workforce with fairness and respect. It has many ways for its workforce to communicate with management and has responded to various concerns that its officers and staff have raised, and has made improvements. Its grievance procedures are used and the majority of the workforce have confidence in them. The wellbeing of the workforce is a priority for the constabulary and it has invested in mental health awareness and support, recognising this is the biggest area of risk. The work the constabulary has done in addressing disproportionality in its workforce is excellent and it has been recognised for this in awards.
It has put considerable effort into improving how it manages the individual performance of its workforce and, although there is more to do to ensure one-to-one conversations with officers and staff take place regularly to identify performance and wellbeing matters, we recognise the progress made. The constabulary has excellent promotion processes that its workforce consider to be clear and fair.
The constabulary should consider how it develops staff confidence in its consultation processes and consider monitoring interventions made by its managers in resolving workplace problems, ensuring that its grievance procedures are understood by all managers.
Areas for improvement
- The constabulary should develop a process for recording and monitoring interventions made by its managers that do not result in grievances.