Humberside PEEL 2017
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Humberside 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 of the people it serves with fairness and respect. It is also judge to be good at ensuring that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully and good at treating its workforce with fairness and respect.
Humberside Police continues to be good in respect of the legitimacy with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime.
The force has clear values and standards which emphasise the importance of treating people with fairness and respect, and these are understood by the workforce and communicated to the public. The force has a mixed understanding of unconscious bias. Training is provided to new starters and newly promoted officers and staff. The force has provided bespoke effective communication training to its frontline workforce, who understand its importance. It gathers data to monitor its use of force and of stop and search powers; it needs, however, to do more to ensure that officers understand what constitutes reasonable grounds for the exercise of these powers and to encourage external scrutiny of their use.
The force continues to develop its ethical decision-making processes; it provides its workforce with the skills and training they need to help them make ethical and fair decisions. It could enhance this further by establishing an effective referral process for submitting and considering ethical questions and dilemmas. A complaints process is available to the public and easy to find on the force website, but the force does not always provide complainants with regular and meaningful updates and does not always record these when it does so. We found that the force is good at identifying, responding to and investigating incidents of discrimination.
HMICFRS has seen an improvement in the way the force treats its officers and staff with fairness and respect. The workforce now have more ways to provide feedback or challenge and to hear about action taken in response. The force has plans to address disproportionality in the recruitment, retention and progression of officers and staff with protected characteristics (such as age, race or sexual orientation). It has continued its focus on improving workforce wellbeing by identifying wellbeing concerns and taking early action to respond to them. It has made a good start on implementing its new performance management process; however, it has yet to be fully used and valued by all members of the workforce. The workforce perceives the force selection processes to be fair, open and transparent.
To what extent does the force treat all of the people it serves with fairness and respect?
Humberside Police continues to be good at treating all the people it serves with fairness and respect. The force understands the importance of procedural justice principles, which are reflected within its values, and standards are effectively communicated both to the workforce and the public. Those values are underpinned by the Code of Ethics, are understood by the workforce, and are reflected in force policies. Not all officers and staff had received training on unconscious bias and how to overcome it, however, and we found that understanding of it was mixed, with some having good understanding and others none at all. The force has provided its officers and staff with effective communication skills training, and officers were able to provide examples of when they had used it. The force has an external scrutiny function which examines a range of topics, including use of coercive powers, but it has only recently put in place external scrutiny of its use of stop and search. The force needs to ensure that its officers and supervisors understand what constitutes reasonable grounds for the use of stop and search. The force captures the data on its use of force; however, it needs to improve how it scrutinises this information to improve its monitoring of the use of force, to reassure itself that officers are acting fairly and proportionately and to identify areas for individual and organisational improvement in its use of these powers.
Areas for improvement
- The force should ensure that officers and supervisors understand what constitutes reasonable grounds for stop and search and how to record them.
- The force should ensure that it monitors effectively data on the use of force to ensure that force is used fairly and appropriately.
- The force should ensure that officers and staff understand unconscious bias and how to avoid it.
How well does the force ensure that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully?
HMICFRS found that the force continues to be good at ensuring that its workforce behave ethically and lawfully. We found that the workforce generally felt that force leaders demonstrate ethical behaviours and reinforce expected standards of behaviour within the workplace. The force ensures that all its policies are in line with the Code of Ethics. It has provided training and support to all members of the workforce to take an ethical approach to decision making. Although it does have some internal scrutiny of policies and procedures, it does not have an external ethics committee to support ethical decision making. It has an accessible complaints reporting process, but it should ensure that investigations conducted outside the PSB include regular and meaningful updates to complainants. The workforce understand what constitutes discrimination and how to identify, respond to and investigate it appropriately. The workforce have confidence in the force to conduct investigations involving discrimination.
Areas for improvement
- The force should review the need to have an external ethics committee to ensure that it has independent scrutiny of its decisions.
- The force should revise its procedures to ensure that all complainants are provided with regular and meaningful updates and that all such updates are recorded.
To what extent does the force treat its workforce with fairness and respect?
Humberside Police is good at the way it treats officers and staff with fairness and respect. This has improved from last year, when HMICFRS found that the force required improvement. The force has improved in the way that it seeks feedback and challenge from its workforce and now publishes what changes it has made as a result. It has an effective grievance process and responds well, treating all grievances seriously and resolving them quickly. It also records all potential grievances, whether or not they become formal grievances, to allow a more detailed understanding of workforce concerns, trends and themes. The force is taking positive action to address disproportionality in its workforce. The force has continued to focus on improving workforce wellbeing, with continuing activities to support and promote wellbeing; these include travelling road shows, wellbeing and mental health champions, psychological support, and trauma management processes for those who are subject to traumatic incidents. Supervisors have been equipped to recognise and support the wellbeing of their teams, and officers and staff said that they felt well supported by their line managers. The workforce perceive that the force selection processes are fair, open and transparent, and the force has plans to introduce a new scheme to identify talented officers and staff for future leadership posts.
Areas for improvement
- The force should review how it uses supportive management action plans for sickness absence, to ensure that they are issued only in appropriate circumstances.