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Cambridgeshire PEEL 2018

Legitimacy

How legitimately does the force treat the public and its workforce?

Last updated 20/01/2020
Good

Cambridgeshire Constabulary is good in the way it treats the public and its workforce.

It is good at behaving ethically and lawfully. It encourages a culture of learning. Its workforce has a good awareness of most corruption issues, but the force needs to train its officers and staff on the abuse of position for a sexual purpose. Officers and staff know how to challenge unethical conduct.

The force has recently made encouraging progress in improving its vetting procedures. It is good at tackling corruption. It can identify those who are potentially at risk of being corrupted and is effective at taking early action to intervene. It works with other organisations to look for signs of officers or staff abusing their position for a sexual purpose.

In 2017, we judged that the force was good at treating the public fairly. But it still needs to get better at monitoring its stop-and-search data. It needs to develop a better understanding of whether its find rates differ between people from different ethnicities and across different types of searches.

In 2017, we judged that the force was good at treating its workforce fairly.

Questions for Legitimacy

1

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

Good

This question wasn’t subject to inspection in 2018/19, and our judgment from the 2017 legitimacy inspection has been carried over. However, we reviewed a representative sample of 100 stop-and-search records to assess the reasonableness of the recorded grounds. We found that 91 percent of those records contained reasonable grounds. Our assessment is based on the grounds recorded by the searching officer and not the grounds that existed at the time of the search.

In our 2017 legitimacy report, we recommended that all forces should:

  • monitor and analyse comprehensive stop-and-search data to understand reasons for disparities;
  • take action on those; and
  • publish the analysis and the action by July 2018.

The force met the recommendations as they were set out in 2017, but improvements to effective practice means there is more it can do now. It should monitor the extent to which find rates differ between people from different ethnicities and across different types of searches (including separate identification of find rates for drug possession and supply-type offences). Additionally, it isn’t clear that it monitors enough data to establish the prevalence of possession-only drug searches or the extent to which these align with local or force-level priorities.

We reviewed the force’s website and found no obvious mention of analysis it had carried out to understand and explain reasons for disparities or any subsequent action taken.

2

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

Good

Cambridgeshire Constabulary is good at behaving ethically and lawfully. The workforce is clear about the importance of ethical behaviour and the need to do the right thing. The Code of Ethics frames the force’s guidance to its workforce. Local policing commanders engage the workforce in practical conversations on ethics and fairness.

The force has a culture of learning. It takes a proportionate approach to establishing learning from misconduct cases or genuine mistakes. An independent scrutiny panel identifies opportunities to improve and examines a range of cases.

The force doesn’t yet fully comply with all elements of national vetting standards. But a recent restructure has created more efficient processes and capacity and it has already reduced its backlog.

The force is good at identifying and tackling corruption. It can identify those who are potentially at risk of being corrupted and is effective at taking early action to intervene. Its workforce demonstrates a good awareness of unconscious bias and most corruption issues. At the time of our inspection, all officers and staff had received corporate messages to raise awareness on the abuse of position for a sexual purpose. The senior lead in the professional standards department (PSD) has developed a credible plan across the force to use university interns to help supervisors deliver and evaluate further training to frontline officers on this important message.

The force routinely monitors officers and staff use of data for evidence of misuse. We viewed samples of corruption-related intelligence reports and investigations and, in all cases, the force had taken appropriate action. Officers and staff consider leaders to be positive role models and told us there was greater openness in decision making, such as in promotion processes.

Areas for improvement

  • The force should ensure all staff have received at least the lowest level of vetting clearance for their roles and clear any backlogs ensuring it is fully compliant with the national vetting guidelines.
  • The force should improve its workforce’s knowledge and understanding of the abuse of position for a sexual purpose.
  • The force should ensure that its counter-corruption unit has enough capability and capacity to counter corruption effectively and proactively.
Detailed findings for question 2