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Essex PEEL 2017

Legitimacy

How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?

Last updated 12/12/2017
Good

Essex 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 the people it serves with fairness and respect. It is judged to be good at ensuring its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully and good at treating its workforce with fairness and respect.

Essex Police has clear values that emphasise the importance of treating people with fairness and respect and these values are reflected in the force’s policies. The workforce receives extensive training on unconscious bias, effective communication skills and the use of coercive powers. The force is good at scrutinising its activities and independent advisory groups provide effective external scrutiny. Most officers understand how to use stop and search powers fairly and respectfully, but the force should ensure that all officers and supervisors understand what constitutes reasonable grounds for stop and search and record them correctly.

The force ensures its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully. Leaders understand the importance of an ethical approach and act as good role models. Officers and staff receive continuing training and advice on ethical decision-making. The force’s website provides clear information to the public on how to make a complaint, although we did not find this information in the front counter areas of police stations. The force should ensure it provides all complainants with the required information when they first make a complaint and with informative updates at the correct intervals.

Essex Police encourages feedback from the workforce and highlights what action it is taking in response to concerns raised. It is addressing disproportionality in its workforce by increasing officer recruitment from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. The force has a well-established wellbeing programme that includes preventative measures that cover mental wellbeing. Leaders have a good understanding of their wellbeing responsibilities. The force has improved how it manages individual performance assessment. It has schemes to develop talent and bring skills into the force. The force’s promotion process is based on competence and is viewed by the workforce as fair.

Questions for Legitimacy

1

To what extent does the force treat all of the people it serves with fairness and respect?

Essex Police is good at treating the people it serves with fairness and respect. The force’s values and its overall vision emphasise the importance of fair and respectful treatment and are reflected in force policies. Force leaders, officers and staff have a clear understanding of ethical principles. The workforce receives training in unconscious bias, effective communication skills and the use of coercive powers such as stop and search. Those who we spoke with demonstrated this training had been effective.

The force is good at scrutinising its comprehensive stop and search data, and other data linked to the use of coercive powers. Independent advisory groups with a diverse membership that includes young people provide regular external scrutiny and feedback. Most officers understand how to use stop and search powers fairly and respectfully. The force considers that disproportionality in the use of stop and search among the black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities is due to its activities to disrupt gangs coming into the county from London. It intends to improve how it records stop and searches linked to gang disruption so that it can understand disproportionality better. The force needs to ensure that all officers and supervisors understand what constitutes reasonable grounds for stop and search and record them correctly.

Good
2

How well does the force ensure that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully?

Essex Police is good at ensuring that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully. The force’s policies and procedures comply with the Code of Ethics. Leaders are aware of the importance of an ethical approach and act as ethical role models. Officers and staff receive continuing advice and training on ethical decision-making and have a very good understanding of ethical policing. The force does not meet national vetting standards, but has an achievable plan to address this.

The force provides clear information on its website about how to make a complaint. However, we did not find this information displayed in the front counter areas of police stations. The force should ensure it provides all complainants with the correct information when they first make a complaint and informative updates at the required intervals. The workforce has a good understanding of discrimination and generally identifies and responds to initial reports appropriately, although complainants are not always updated regularly. The force needs to ensure it always refers internal misconduct cases involving allegations of discrimination to the IPCC.

Good

Areas for improvement

    • The force should ensure that all allegations which meet the mandatory criteria for referral to the IPCC are so referred.
    • The force should seek to improve the way in which it keeps complainants updated as to the progress of their complaint in line with IPCC statutory guidance.
3

To what extent does the force treat its workforce with fairness and respect?

Essex Police is good at treating its workforce with fairness and respect. The force encourages feedback from the workforce, for example through force-wide meetings with the chief officer team, a suggestion scheme and regular staff surveys. It has introduced an improvement plan to highlight what action it is taking in response to concerns raised in the staff surveys.

The force understands the importance of addressing potential disproportionality in its workforce and is having some success in increasing officer recruitment from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities. It has taken positive action to support females and those with protected characteristics.

Essex Police understands the importance of workforce wellbeing and has a comprehensive understanding of the risks and threats to the workforce’s wellbeing and a well-established wellbeing programme that the workforce appreciates. Leaders understand their wellbeing responsibilities and receive training to enable them to recognise concerns and better support staff. There are preventative measures in place to assist with mental wellbeing, communication, relationships, mindfulness, relaxation and future goals.

The force has improved how it manages individual performance assessment. Most members of the workforce now complete their annual PDR and have a better understanding of its value. The force has schemes to develop talent and skills at various levels, including the police staff leadership pathway, which the workforce values and perceives to be fair. The force’s approach to promotion is based on competence and recent candidates told us the process was fair and that they received objective feedback.

Good