Dyfed-Powys PEEL 2017
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Dyfed-Powys 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 more positive than last year. The force is judged to be good at treating all of the people it serves with fairness and respect and at ensuring its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully. However, it is judged to require improvement in some aspects of treating its workforce with fairness and respect.
Dyfed-Powys Police is judged to be good overall in respect of how legitimate the force is at keeping people safe and reducing crime. HMICFRS is pleased to see that the force has acted on most of our previous recommendations for improvement. Its leaders have shown a real commitment to ensuring that the workforce understands the importance of treating the people it serves fairly and with respect. Officers and staff understand unconscious bias and use coercive powers well. Good communication skills are being delivered to some of the workforce. Although the force has good arrangements in place to scrutinise its use of powers, and welcomes challenge to improve the way that it treats people, more must be done to ensure that its external scrutiny is truly representative of the communities it serves. The force also needs to improve its recording of stop and search information.
Dyfed-Powys Police can demonstrate that it has an ethical culture, which helps the workforce to behave ethically and lawfully. The force is also good at identifying, responding to and investigating cases of discrimination. It is easy for members of the public to complain if they feel they have not received the level of service to which they are entitled but the force needs to do more to update both complainants and those subject to complaints. Although the force has failed to reduce the backlog of vetting cases identified by HMICFRS in 2016, we are satisfied the force’s plan to resolve this problem by 2019 is realistic and achievable. The force is actively promoting healthy lifestyles by providing support to those who need it. However, the force needs to do more to encourage black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) representation, by recruiting, retaining and promoting officers and staff who are representative of the local population. It should also ensure that everyone benefits from the new annual appraisal process, and that all officers and staff understand and fully support the promotion and selection processes.
To what extent does the force treat all of the people it serves with fairness and respect?
Dyfed-Powys Police works hard to ensure it treats all the people it serves with fairness and respect. Leaders demonstrate a commitment to treating the people they serve fairly and with respect, which is reflected in the workforce’s own understanding. Officers and staff understand the importance of unconscious bias and how to use their coercive powers fairly and respectfully. However, it should do more to ensure the workforce understands the importance of effective communication skills – and how to apply them. The force has made adequate arrangements to scrutinise its use of powers and seeks external challenge to improve the way that it treats people. However, it should do more to ensure that its IAG better represents the communities it serves, particularly young people. The force also needs to improve the way it records and monitors its use of stop and search powers.
Areas for improvement
- The force should ensure that officers and supervisors likely to use stop and search powers understand what constitutes reasonable grounds.
- The force should ensure it has external scrutiny groups at force and local levels, which should have a diverse membership that represents all communities, including young people. Members should also receive sufficient training to be able to challenge leaders with confidence.
How well does the force ensure that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully?
Dyfed-Powys Police is good at ensuring that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully. The new chief officer team has made it clear to the workforce that they need to improve standards by doing the “basics brilliantly”. This includes acting in an ethical manner at all times. The force encourages its leaders to be good ethical role models in line with the force’s values of integrity, objectivity and honesty. Generally, the workforce consider the ethical implications of their decisions. However HMICFRS found that the role and purpose of the ethics committee was not widely understood. For example, some cases were referred inappropriately to the ethics committee, which suggests the force does not yet fully understand what constitutes an ethical dilemma. The force has a large vetting backlog. However, it is taking positive action to clear the backlog by 2019 and has a credible plan for achieving this. Dyfed-Powys Police makes it easy for members of the public to complain but needs to do more to update both complainants and those subject to complaints. HMICFRS also found that not all complainants received the level of additional support they need. On a more positive note HMICFRS found the force identifies and responds to discrimination appropriately and at the earliest opportunity. We found also that allegations had been investigated in accordance with the IPCC guidelines for handling allegations of discrimination.
Areas for improvement
- The force should ensure it complies with all aspects of national guidelines for vetting; the backlog of cases that require vetting should be reduced immediately.
- The force should improve the quality and timeliness of updates to complainants, in line with IPCC statutory guidance.
- The force should ensure that all officers and staff receiving and investigating public complaints have the appropriate knowledge and skills to support people who may want to make a complaint, especially those who require additional assistance.
To what extent does the force treat its workforce with fairness and respect?
Dyfed-Powys Police requires improvement in some aspects of treating its workforce with fairness and respect. The force has made some progress since 2015, when we found that officers and staff did not feel able consistently to challenge decisions or inappropriate behaviour. In 2017, we found the workforce felt confident about challenging its leaders and that wellbeing was a priority for the leadership. The force is good especially at taking early, preventive action to improve staff wellbeing. Dyfed-Powys Police is also making determined efforts to manage grievances effectively, maintain open communication and identify opportunities for their early resolution. However, the force needs to do more to ensure that the grievance process is understood and perceived as fair and transparent. HMICFRS was disappointed to find that attempts to improve the diversity of the workforce have not succeeded in terms of BAME representation. We hope the changes made in the chief officer group and the appointment of a positive action officer will bring about rapid changes to the current disproportionality, and that, in future, BAME representation will more closely reflect the diversity of the local population. In 2016, HMICFRS recommended that the force improve its management of individual performance so we were pleased that the force has re-introduced an annual appraisal process. However, at the time of the inspection, few officers had benefited fully from the new system, and some officers still have not received an annual appraisal for ‘many years’. The force also needs to improve the ways in which it identifies potential senior leaders through its talent management scheme and the promotion process. The entire workforce needs a better understanding of the processes, which must be subject to independent scrutiny at all stages of the application process.
Areas for improvement
- The force should ensure that its grievance procedures are accessible and transparent, and are perceived by the workforce as being fair.
- The force should ensure that it has effective processes in place to identify and understand the causes of potential disproportionality in the recruitment, retention and progression of its workforce, and to take effective action to address these causes.
- The force should ensure it has effective systems, processes and guidance in place to manage individual performance.
- The force should ensure that its promotion and selection processes are accessible and transparent, and are perceived by the workforce as fair.