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Kent PEEL 2017

Legitimacy

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

Last updated 12/12/2017
Outstanding

Kent Police is judged to be outstanding 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 outstanding 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 outstanding at treating its workforce with fairness and respect.

Kent Police has clear values that emphasise the importance of treating people with fairness and respect and it is outstanding at keeping people safe and reducing crime. The workforce receives extensive training on ethical decision-making that covers unconscious bias, effective communication skills and the use of coercive powers such as stop and search. The force monitors the use of stop and search and has carried out research to understand any identified disproportionate use. Independent advisory groups provide effective external scrutiny and feedback. Governance of the use of force is clear and lessons learned are communicated with the workforce. However, the force should ensure that all officers and supervisors understand what constitutes reasonable grounds for stop and search and record them correctly.

Force leaders continue to demonstrate an extremely positive and ethical approach to policing. Officers and staff receive continuing advice and extensive training on ethical decision-making and have an excellent understanding of ethical policing. The force’s website and police front counters provide the public with information on how to make a complaint. However, the force could improve the information it provides complainants when they first make a complaint and ensures it provides informative updates at the required intervals.

In 2016, we found that the force was outstanding at treating its workforce with fairness and respect, and this remains the case. The force has had some success in addressing the disproportionality in its workforce by increasing officer recruitment from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. The force maintains a comprehensive range of effective and sometimes innovative preventative measures to improve workforce wellbeing, including initiatives to reduce the stigma attached to mental health issues and has applied for an excellence award under the Workforce Wellbeing Charter. It has schemes to develop talent and bring skills into the force. The workforce sees the police officer promotion process as fair and candidates report receiving objective feedback.

Questions for Legitimacy

1

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

Kent Police is outstanding at treating the people it serves with fairness and respect. The force’s vision and values emphasise the importance of fair and respectful treatment and are understood by the whole workforce. The workforce receives effective training that covers unconscious bias, communication skills and the use of coercive powers such as stop and search. Officers are able to demonstrate their understanding of these issues.

The force monitors the use of stop and search and has carried out research to understand its disproportionate use. It 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. The force intends to improve how it records stop and searches linked to gang disruption so that it can understand disproportionality better. Independent advisory groups with a diverse membership that includes young people provide effective external scrutiny and feedback. Governance of the use of force is clear and lessons learned are communicated with the workforce. However, the force needs to ensure that all officers and supervisors understand what constitutes reasonable grounds for stop and search and record them correctly.

Outstanding
2

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

Kent 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 extensive training on ethical decision-making and have an excellent 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, and we found this information in most front counter areas of police stations we visited. 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. The investigations we assessed were conducted well and complainants received a good service. 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 improve its compliance with IPCC statutory guidance, including the way in which it keeps complainants updated as to the progress of their complaint.
3

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

In 2016, we found that Kent Police was outstanding at treating its workforce with fairness and respect. This year we have not actively sought further evidence on this aspect, but report on additional activities we identified during our inspection.

The culture and ethics boards continue to be effective and are well supported by the workforce. The force continues to have a good understanding of workforce concerns relating to fairness, including grievances, complaints and misconduct matters.

The force is increasing officer recruitment from black, Asian and ethnic minority (BAME) communities and is continuing its work with its BAME officers and staff to better understand and remove any barriers to their progression.

Kent Police held a joint health and wellbeing conference with Essex Police to encourage further improvements in workforce wellbeing. The force maintains a comprehensive range of effective and sometimes innovative preventative measures to improve workforce wellbeing, including initiatives to reduce the stigma attached to mental health problems.

The force continues to develop its good personal development review processes. These now enable both individuals and managers to identify career preferences and plot their current development position. The force has schemes to develop talent and skills at various levels, including the police staff leadership pathway. The workforce sees the police officer promotion process as fair and candidates report receiving objective feedback.

Outstanding