Norfolk PEEL 2017
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Norfolk 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 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.
Norfolk Constabulary continues to demonstrate that it treats the people it serves with fairness and respect. We identified a strong culture of ‘doing the right thing’ among the workforce, who receive the training they need to use their powers fairly and respectfully. The force monitors the use of its coercive powers and ensures any learning from this is used to improve workforce training. Effective external scrutiny is provided through public meetings as well as an independent advisory group and independent stop and search scrutiny panel. The force is introducing body-worn video cameras for frontline officers, which will enable further scrutiny.
The force is good at ensuring that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully and its policies are based on the Code of Ethics. However, the force needs to ensure that it complies fully with current national vetting standards.
Norfolk Constabulary provides comprehensive information about how to make a complaint, both on its web page and in force buildings. The force reviews all public complaints and internal misconduct investigations to ensure it learns from its mistakes. The force’s joint professional standards department with Suffolk Constabulary undertakes satisfactory investigations in cases involving alleged discrimination. However, it needs to ensure it identifies all allegations involving discrimination, it updates complainants and those who are the subject of allegations in a timely manner (in line with legal requirements) and that updates contain sufficient information on the progress of the investigation.
Norfolk Constabulary is good at treating its workforce with fairness and respect. The force encourages and listens to feedback from the workforce. It uses a wide variety of methods to gather feedback with the workforce in person and anonymously, and is proactive in responding to concerns. The force continues to improve the range of wellbeing services it provides. It is making progress in increasing the diversity of its workforce so that it better reflects the communities it serves. However, it needs to improve the way individual performance assessment is used and ensure that selection and promotion processes are consistent and fair across the workforce.
To what extent does the force treat all of the people it serves with fairness and respect?
Norfolk Constabulary is good at treating the people it serves with fairness and respect. We identified a strong culture of ‘doing the right thing’ among the workforce. The force ensures it workforce receives training that covers unconscious bias and how to overcome it, effective communication skills and use of coercive powers such as force and stop and search. Frontline officers have a good understanding of how to use their coercive powers fairly and respectfully. The force also works with the local media to help explain the use of these powers and how effectively it is treating people with fairness and respect.
The force has effective methods for internal scrutiny of use of force and stop and search to ensure these powers are being used fairly. Learning identified from this scrutiny influences the training the force provides to its workforce. External scrutiny is provided through public meetings and by an independent advisory group and independent stop and search scrutiny panel, which have a diverse membership. The force provides members of the groups with training to help them perform their role effectively and is seeking to expand the involvement of young people. Norfolk Constabulary is issuing frontline officers and staff with body-worn video cameras, which will enable further scrutiny.
How well does the force ensure that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully?
Norfolk Constabulary is good at ensuring its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully. The force’s policies are based on the Code of Ethics; new and revised policies are scrutinised by the independent advisory group and are available to the public on the force’s website. Leaders are good role models and are open to feedback and challenge. The force’s ethics board considers the ethical implications of important decisions.
The force does not comply fully with national vetting standards because of a large number of officers whose vetting has expired. However, it has plans to address this and is prioritising vetting for posts that have the highest risk.
Norfolk Constabulary has comprehensive information on its website on how to make a complaint, including how to access additional support such as translation and advocacy services. Police public reception areas, police detention facilities and local authority buildings display posters that provide information on how to make a complaint, which are also displayed by other support organisations to reach those communities who may have less trust and confidence in the police.
The force identifies and responds adequately to allegations of potential discrimination. The workforce receives training on discrimination and has a good understanding. However, the force needs to do more to ensure that all allegations are recorded correctly. The joint professional standards department is good at investigating cases involving allegations of discrimination but needs to ensure it identifies all allegations of discrimination, refers to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) all cases that meet the mandatory criteria and consistently provides informative updates to complainants and those who are the subject of allegations. The force routinely reviews all public complaints and internal misconduct investigations to ensure it learns from its mistakes.
Areas for improvement
- The force should improve the quality and timeliness of updates to complainants, including matters of misconduct, in line with IPCC statutory guidance.
- The force should improve the level of understanding among its workforce so they can identify and respond appropriately to initial reports of discrimination at the earliest opportunity.
To what extent does the force treat its workforce with fairness and respect?
Norfolk Constabulary is good at treating its workforce with fairness and respect. The force encourages the workforce to provide feedback and challenge, for example through local forums and seminars, online and by speaking with their line manager. The workforce are able to provide feedback in person or anonymously. The force also has an effective grievance procedure for those that feel they have been treated unfairly. The force reacts positively to feedback and takes action in response to concerns raised.
The force is addressing disproportionality in its workforce to ensure it better reflects the communities it serves. It has not set recruitment targets for those from under-represented groups but is trying to make its recruitment processes as open and fair as possible and is using social media to provide information and encourage people to join the force.
Norfolk Constabulary is good at understanding and promoting the wellbeing of its workforce. The force is continuing to improve the range of wellbeing services it provides. Officers and staff are aware of the services available and how to access them. Supervisors receive training and support to manage their wellbeing responsibilities. A new joint occupational health, safety and wellbeing strategy working group aims to identify and address any matters affecting the physical and mental wellbeing of the workforce.
The force needs to ensure that the value of performance and development reviews is recognised across the workforce and the performance assessment framework is used consistently. It could also do more to improve how it identifies potential senior leaders. Some of the workforce feel that selection and promotion processes could be more fair and open. The force needs to continue to work on ensuring that the actual and perceived fairness of selection and promotion processes is addressed.
Areas for improvement
- The force needs to ensure that selection and promotion processes are open and fair, and are perceived to be so by the workforce.
- The force needs to ensure that the staff performance assessment framework is applied consistently and fairly across the entire organisation and that staff consider it valuable in supporting their development.