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Cleveland PEEL 2018

Legitimacy

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

Last updated 27/09/2019
Inadequate

Cleveland Police is inadequate in the way it treats the public and its workforce.

The force doesn’t treat the public fairly enough. It isn’t giving local people the opportunity to voice their needs and concerns, and it doesn’t encourage a culture that values engagement. It isn’t being open in some of the decisions and actions it takes. The force experiences higher levels of complaint allegations from the public than most other forces. We found examples of unconscious bias and inappropriate language being used. The force is poor at using external scrutiny to seek the views of the public and consider what improvements it can make.

Cleveland Police isn’t adequately maintaining an ethical workforce. Many senior leaders (superintending and chief officer ranks, and senior police staff managers) aren’t acting as positive ethical role models. Their behaviour is having a profoundly negative impact on the force’s ability to be effective and efficient in what it does. It concerns us that some of the information being presented to the chief constable isn’t trustworthy. The force needs to improve how it tackles corruption within its workforce. While we recognise the improvements the force has made, there is still more to do.

Cleveland Police needs to improve how it treats its people. The force doesn’t seek feedback on fair treatment in enough ways. It doesn’t always listen to its workforce and it doesn’t always tell them what action it takes in response to feedback. It has prioritised its wellbeing strategy, re-established its governance arrangements and extended its wellbeing services. But it hasn’t communicated this well and the workforce isn’t yet fully aware or seeing the benefits. The force doesn’t manage the individual performance or development of its people effectively. It has limited ways of identifying potential talent within its workforce. Too many officers and staff don’t perceive the promotion processes to be fair.

Questions for Legitimacy

1

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

Inadequate

Cleveland Police doesn’t treat the public fairly enough. It doesn’t adequately understand or value the benefits of engaging with the community. And it doesn’t place enough importance on procedural justice and treating people with fairness and respect.

The force doesn’t encourage a culture that values engagement with the public. It doesn’t use its communication channels effectively. This means it isn’t giving local people the opportunity to voice their needs, concerns and preferences. It isn’t open about the decisions and actions it takes. But it has successfully engaged young people and volunteers in policing.

The force doesn’t treat its communities with enough respect. It experiences higher levels of complaints from the public than most other forces. It has been trying to improve this through raising the awareness of frontline staff about their professional behaviour. There is an inconsistent understanding of unconscious bias across the workforce. We found examples of unconscious bias and inappropriate language used between colleagues, and we are concerned that this will influence how staff treat members of the public.

Cleveland Police isn’t good enough at monitoring the way it uses force. It therefore doesn’t understand if its use is fair and appropriate. It doesn’t monitor a comprehensive dataset effectively. It is poor at using external scrutiny to seek the views of the public and consider what improvements it can make. Without this understanding, it doesn’t know where it needs to improve.

While the force has low numbers of stop and search encounters, it understands how the powers are used. But it hasn’t sufficiently improved how it records its use of these powers.

Cleveland Police has required improvement in this area throughout all our PEEL inspections since 2015. It hasn’t made adequate progress in this four-year period.

Cause of concern

Cleveland Police doesn’t adequately engage with local communities. This lack of engagement means that public expectations don’t sufficiently influence force priorities and changes to the services it provides. The public also has a limited role in scrutinising the force and helping it to improve.

Recommendations

The force should immediately take steps to:

  • improve its communication and engagement with the public of Cleveland. This should include: informing them of changes to policing services; communicating the action it has taken to address force priorities; and the provision of community and personal safety advice.
  • improve its understanding of local communities, including those who are less likely to complain or those who engage less with the police;
  • understand what services its communities want and how the force’s plans and its operating model reflect these expectations; and
  • engage the public in the scrutiny of its data and processes, including the use of force and stop and search, to help it improve. This may be through an independent advisory group or other means. It should ensure that these people have the relevant training, and are provided with sufficient data and analysis for them to scrutinise and challenge in a constructive way.

Areas for improvement

The following AFI is still outstanding from our previous inspections:

  • The force should continue with the improvements it has started to ensure that all stop and search records include sufficient reasonable grounds to justify the lawful use of the power, and that officers fully understand the grounds required to stop and search a person. (Legitimacy 2015)

Detailed findings for question 1

2

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

Inadequate

Cleveland Police isn’t adequately maintaining an ethical culture. Many senior leaders (superintending and chief officer ranks, and senior police staff managers) aren’t acting as positive ethical role models. There are too many examples of these leaders:

  • not taking responsibility;
  • not acting with honesty, integrity and competence;
  • opposing constructive challenge; and
  • apportioning blame.

This behaviour is having a profoundly negative impact on the force’s ability to be effective and efficient in what it does. It concerns us that the chief constable is unable to trust the information he receives from within the force. Some of the reported information is inaccurate and a misrepresentation of the force. The force has developed a new set of values and behaviours, but officers and staff aren’t yet demonstrating them consistently.

The force needs to improve how it tackles corruption within its workforce. While we recognise the improvements it has made in this area, there is still more to do. The force isn’t sufficiently managing the internal risk to identify those people who are most susceptible to corruption. There isn’t enough capability within the force’s counter-corruption unit (CCU) to monitor all force systems. The force recognises abuse of position for a sexual purpose as a serious corruption issue. But it needs to improve its links with organisations that support vulnerable people.

Cleveland Police has required improvement in this area throughout all our PEEL inspections since 2015. It hasn’t made adequate progress in this four-year period and, although it put new arrangements in place, it then abandoned them.

Cause of concern

Many senior leaders (superintending and chief officer ranks, and senior police staff managers) aren’t consistently demonstrating ethical behaviour. The inappropriate behaviour of these leaders within Cleveland Police is so profound that it is affecting the efficiency and effectiveness of the force.

Recommendations

The force should take immediate action to:

  • embed the Code of Ethics principles and behaviours within the organisation;
  • create a culture where officers and staff are honest and take responsibility for their work and action taken;
  • hold the entire workforce to account for inappropriate behaviour and poor performance; and
  • ensure there is a process for the workforce to discuss ethical dilemmas regularly, and understand decisions made by the force about fairness that also influence policy and practice.

Areas for improvement

  • The force should monitor its vetting decisions to identify disparities and disproportionality (e.g. black, Asian and minority ethnic groups), and act to reduce them where appropriate.
  • The force should ensure it has full information technology (IT) monitoring to effectively protect the information contained within its systems.

The following AFIs are still outstanding from our previous inspections:

  • The force should improve the way corruption intelligence is assessed, graded and stored. (Legitimacy 2016)
  • The force should review the capacity and capability of its counter-corruption unit, to ensure it can manage its work effectively.(Legitimacy 2016)

Detailed findings for question 2

3

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

Inadequate

Cleveland Police doesn’t fully understand the concerns its people have about fairness at work. It doesn’t consistently treat its people fairly. We are concerned that, when officers and staff are treated unfairly, this might affect how they treat members of the public.

The force has limited ways in which it seeks feedback about fair treatment. Most officers and staff are happy to voice their concerns but don’t feel the force listens to them. The force isn’t good enough at telling the workforce what action it has taken as a result of their feedback. There is no mechanism for workforce to challenge what the force does, which means that their voice isn’t always heard at the right time.

Cleveland Police needs to improve its understanding of wellbeing to inform the way it cares for its people. It has prioritised its wellbeing strategy, re-established its governance arrangements and extended its wellbeing services. But it hasn’t communicated this effectively and the workforce isn’t yet fully aware or seeing the benefits. The force doesn’t have a good enough understanding of the risks and threats to the wellbeing of its workforce. And it isn’t always meeting its basic duty of care for its people.

The force doesn’t manage the individual performance or development of its people effectively. It doesn’t have anything in place to allow it to understand performance across the workforce. Supervisors don’t effectively identify and manage poor performance. The force has limited ways of identifying potential talent within its workforce. Too many officers and staff don’t perceive the promotion processes to be fair.

Cleveland Police has required improvement in this area throughout all our PEEL inspections since 2015. It hasn’t made adequate progress in this four-year period and, although it put new arrangements in place, it then stopped them.

Cause of concern

Cleveland Police doesn’t consistently treat its workforce with fairness and respect. It doesn’t effectively communicate with or engage its workforce, its processes aren’t perceived to be fair and it doesn’t understand its workforce well enough to support them.

Recommendations

To address this cause of concern, the force should:

  • communicate with the workforce, so they have a clear understanding of what is happening in the force;
  • involve the workforce in decision making; listening to their feedback, acting on it, and communicating action taken;
  • improve the timeliness of its grievance handling processes;
  • understand the risks and threats to the wellbeing of its workforce and use this to inform the actions it takes;
  • understand the performance of its workforce, support their development, and deal with poor performance fairly and consistently;
  • fairly and consistently identify those with the potential to become senior leaders and support them to gain the skills for future leadership role; and
  • ensure that promotion processes are transparent, fair and perceived as such by the workforce.
Detailed findings for question 3