Dorset 2017Read more about Dorset 2017
This is HMICFRS’ fourth PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of Dorset Police. PEEL is designed to give the public information about how their local police force is performing in several important areas, in a way that is comparable both across England and Wales, and year on year. The assessment is updated throughout the year with our inspection findings and reports.
The extent to which the force is effective at keeping people safe and reducing crime is not yet graded.
The extent to which the force is efficient at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.
The extent to which the force is legitimate at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.
The efficiency and legitimacy inspection findings are published below.
Wendy Williams, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary
My overall assessment of Dorset’s performance will be published in spring 2018, following the publication of the effectiveness inspections in March 2018.
How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Dorset Police is judged to be good in the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. Our overall judgment this year is the same as last year. The force is judged to be good in its understanding of demand; its use of resources to manage demand is assessed to be good; and its planning for future demand is also judged to be good.
Dorset Police is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. It is an efficient police force with clear plans in place for the future. It has a well-developed understanding of the demands for its services, which allows it to make informed decisions about planning and resourcing. Because of this, it is in a strong position for the next phase of its strategic alliance with Devon and Cornwall Police. This will see the introduction of a new, joint model for service provision aimed at transforming how both forces operate. Within the force’s call handling department there are some pressures but the force understands what the problems are. It has now put processes in place to prioritise calls from those people who are most at risk.
The force generally makes good use of its resources. Its investment plans align with the police and crime plan. The plans focus on the benefits that the structured use of new technology can bring to both the public and to the organisation. The force needs to improve its understanding of the skills and leadership potential of its workforce. It has a good track record of working together with other organisations and understands the benefits to be gained.
Dorset Police is planning for its future in a coherent way. The work it has done to identify potential future demand is impressive. The force knows that it needs to replace some inefficient systems and processes to provide a solid basis for its planned changes. In contrast, it does not yet have a clear picture of its future leadership needs. However, the strengths of its existing change programme provide a degree of confidence that the ambitious scale of future change is achievable, both because of its organisational capability and because of its financial position.
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Dorset Police is judged to be good at how legitimately it keeps people safe and reduces crime. For the areas of legitimacy we looked at this year, our overall judgment is the same as last year. The force is judged to be good at treating all the people it serves with fairness and respect, good at ensuring its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully but requiring improvement in some aspects of treating its workforce with fairness and respect.
The importance of treating people fairly and with respect is reflected in the force’s vision and values, and leaders demonstrate a commitment to it. Officers and staff are trained to communicate effectively with the public and use their coercive powers fairly, but the force needs to improve workforce understanding of unconscious bias. The force has various internal and external processes to scrutinise how officers and staff interact with the public. Generally these work well, but the force needs to improve how it works with the community to ensure effective independent scrutiny and challenge of its stop and search activity.
The commitment to developing a strong ethical culture in the force is evident. Leaders at all levels promote the need to make ethical policing decisions with officers and staff having a good understanding of how to make ethical decisions in the working environment. The force generally makes it easy for the public to make a complaint and the workforce is able to recognise, respond to and investigate discrimination well, although it needs to ensure that referrals to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) are made correctly.
The force needs to improve how it works with officers and staff to maintain internal standards of fairness and respect. The force has many processes in place to engage with, and support, the workforce, but these are not always effective or valued. High workloads are evident across the force and it needs to consider the consequences this has on individual wellbeing. The force needs to improve some of its other people management processes, most notably individual performance assessment which is not as effective as it needs to be.
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 (for instance, our 2016 leadership assessment); 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.