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Hertfordshire PEEL 2017

Legitimacy

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

Last updated 12/12/2017
Good

Hertfordshire Constabulary 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 the previous two years, in which we judged the force to be good in respect of legitimacy.

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.

Hertfordshire Constabulary is good at treating the people it serves with fairness and respect. The force is committed to ensuring that its workforce has the skills it needs to treat people fairly and respectfully, for example by providing training in effective communication skills, the appropriate use of coercive powers and what constitutes reasonable grounds for stop and search. It is also improving the workforce’s understanding of how to recognise and overcome unconscious bias.

The force is improving its internal scrutiny of use of force. It receives challenge and feedback from external scrutiny groups that have a diverse membership that includes young people. Scrutiny of stop and search could be improved by reviewing body-worn video camera footage and by including more young people in the community stop and search panel.

Hertfordshire Constabulary promotes an ethical culture and ensures that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully. Leaders act as positive role models and have an ethical approach to decision-making. However, the force needs to ensure that it complies with national vetting standards.

The force makes it easy for people to make a complaint and offers extra support to those who need it. Most complaints are investigated well, although not all allegations of discrimination are conducted in a timely way.

Hertfordshire Constabulary is good at treating its workforce with fairness and respect. The force encourages challenge and feedback and is proactive in the way that it identifies and resolves workforce concerns. It provides a comprehensive and accessible wellbeing programme and uses preventative measures to improve workforce wellbeing. The officers and staff we spoke with felt that their wellbeing is a priority for the force. The force is developing fair and effective performance assessment, selection and promotion processes in alliance with Bedfordshire Police and Cambridgeshire Constabulary.

Questions for Legitimacy

1

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

Hertfordshire Constabulary is good at treating the people it serves with fairness and respect. Leaders communicate the force’s values to the workforce and ensure officers and staff understand the importance of treating people fairly and with respect. The force provides training and guidance on effective communication skills and on the appropriate use of coercive powers, and is conducting more training on how to recognise and overcome unconscious bias. The workforce understands how to use coercive powers fairly and respectfully as well as what constitutes reasonable grounds for carrying out a search.

The force is improving its internal scrutiny of use of force and receives challenge and feedback from external scrutiny groups with a diverse membership that includes young people. Scrutiny of stop and search could be improved by reviewing body-worn video camera footage and by including more young people in the community stop and search panel. Examining data on differences between the ethnicity of the officer conducting the stop and search and the person being searched would improve the force’s understanding of potential disproportionality.

Good

Areas for improvement

  • The force needs to ensure that its data for use of force (including body-worn video footage) is monitored by an external group to provide additional oversight.
2

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

Hertfordshire Constabulary is good at ensuring its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully. Ethics and values are well established throughout the force. Leaders act as positive role models and have an ethical approach to decision-making. The force’s ethics, equality and inclusion board and ethics committee review ethical issues and provide support and guidance to the workforce. Officers and staff we spoke with are confident about raising ethical concerns.

The force does not yet comply with the national vetting standards and is taking a risk-based approach, meaning that vetting for high-risk posts and new recruits is prioritised. However, it has an achievable plan to comply with the standards.

Hertfordshire Constabulary makes it easy for members of the public to make a complaint using its website, which includes options for information in other languages and support for people who have hearing or speech impairments. Printed information and posters about making a complaint are on display in police reception and front counter areas. Most complaints are investigated well and complainants are usually updated on the progress of the investigation in a timely way.

The force is good at identifying potential discrimination. Most investigations of allegations of discrimination are satisfactory, but not all are conducted in a timely way. The force needs to ensure it refers all serious cases to the IPCC if they are aggravated because discrimination is alleged to be a reason for the behaviour.

Good

Areas for improvement

  • The force should ensure that it has a credible plan to comply with all aspects of the national vetting standards by December 2018, in line with HMICFRS’ nationwide recommendation in 2016.
  • The force should ensure that all allegations which meet the mandatory criteria for referral to the IPCC are so referred, and that it updates witnesses and subjects regularly.
3

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

Hertfordshire Constabulary is good at treating its workforce with fairness and respect. Leaders have a good understanding of the workforce’s views through regular meetings and consultations, as well as from the results of a staff survey. Officers and staff feel able to provide feedback and challenge. The force is proactive in the way that it identifies and resolves workforce concerns. It is working to increase equality and diversity in its workforce so that it is more representative of the communities it serves.

The force has a comprehensive and accessible wellbeing programme and has put in place preventative measures to improve workforce wellbeing. Supervisors are trained to spot the early signs and symptoms of mental ill health and stress. The officers and staff we spoke with felt that their wellbeing is a priority for the force.

In the three forces in the alliance, processes for managing individual performance, development and promotion opportunities are being aligned to make them consistent and fair. Work is in progress at the alliance level to identify how to make the personal development review process more meaningful.

Good

Areas for improvement

  • The force should ensure that the grievance process complies with the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service codes of practice and guidance, particularly relating to timescales, records, audit trails, and updates and support to witnesses and workforce members who have raised a grievance.
  • The force should ensure it develops and supports its supervisors and managers to conduct fair, effective and consistent assessments that support continuous professional development and manage poor performance, including establishing an effective quality assurance process.