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Metropolitan PEEL 2018

Legitimacy

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

Last updated 27/09/2019
Good

The Metropolitan Police Service is good at treating the public and its workforce legitimately.

The force has a culture of treating people with fairness and respect. It is good at removing barriers to engagement. Understanding of unconscious bias varies. This is despite the training provided. The force’s ‘walk in an officer’s shoes’ educational exercise is commendable. It should make sure that it trains all officers in safety techniques. And it should properly supervise and analyse stop and search records.

The force needs to improve the way it maintains an ethical culture and ensures lawful behaviour among its workforce. It has still to vet a significant number of staff. It has moved from a blame culture to a more open, learning environment. But staff don’t always know where to refer ethical issues. The way the force responds to high-level corruption is impressive. But it needs to do more to manage internal risk and intervene early with those at risk of corruption.

The force is good at treating its workforce fairly. Staff have increasing levels of trust and confidence in their leaders. The force has a positive and strong approach to diversity. It has improved its procedures for managing complaints of internal discrimination. The force has experienced a huge demand for its services in recent years. It is making improvements to its wellbeing provision. The force should support its supervisors with wellbeing concerns.

Questions for Legitimacy

1

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

Good

The force has a culture of treating people with fairness and respect. It is clear that fair treatment and decision making are important. It makes sure that its workforce understands this. It is good at helping people engage with the force and removing barriers. It finds new ways to involve those from harder-to-reach communities. This includes engagement hubs, use of digital platforms and various innovative activities. There has been a significant reduction in public complaints.

Understanding of unconscious bias varies throughout the organisation. This is despite the training the force provides to help the workforce interact well with the public. The force should reinforce this training. It should also make sure that it trains all officers in safety techniques. The force monitors use of force correctly. This is central to officer safety training and additional inputs.

The force’s arrangements for the use and scrutiny of stop and search are positive. But it should make sure that it properly supervises and analyses stop and search records. The introduction of body-worn video devices has given officers more confidence to do stop and search. The force’s innovative ‘walk in an officer’s shoes’ educational exercise is commendable.

Areas for improvement

  • The force should ensure that it reinforces awareness of unconscious bias among staff and gives them regular access to guidance to help them to make fair decisions with confidence.
  • The force should make sure it appropriately trains all officers in officer safety techniques.
  • The force should ensure that all its stop and search records are correctly supervised.

Detailed findings for question 1

2

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

Requires improvement

The way the force maintains an ethical culture and ensures lawful behaviour among its workforce requires improvement, particularly in respect of reducing the significant number of staff who require appropriate vetting. We make three recommendations about vetting.

The force has moved from a blame culture to a more open, learning environment. Its leaders act as role models for ethical behaviour. This is good. The force takes ethics seriously when discussing operational decisions. But it should make sure that the workforce is aware of the processes for referring ethical issues for discussion.

The force is good at building confidence with communities by publishing the outcomes of misconduct hearings. The way the force responds to high-level corruption is impressive. But it needs to do more to manage internal risk via its integrity registers. It also needs to intervene more often at an early stage with officers and staff at risk of corruption. It should invest in suitable software to proactively monitor its ICT systems.

Cause of concern

The size of the vetting backlog within the Metropolitan Police Service is a cause of concern.

Recommendations

  • Within 12 months the force should ensure all staff have received at least the lowest level of vetting clearance for their roles, working to clear any backlogs and new vetting renewals when they become due, to ensure it is fully compliant with the national vetting guidelines.
  • The force should undertake work to ensure it fully understands the vetting status of staff where their current vetting status is currently unknown and vet staff who do not have current vetting. It should ensure that it has appropriate central governance over the number of staff who require enhanced vetting and re-vetting.
  • The force should monitor its vetting decisions to identify disparities and disproportionality (e.g. BAME groups), and act to reduce them where appropriate.

Areas for improvement

  • The force should ensure that awareness of its process for the workforce to refer and discuss ethical concerns where the workforce can review any feedback and changes made as a result is reinforced among all staff.
  • The force should ensure it has a current counter-corruption strategic threat assessment that uses the national corruption categories and control strategy which enables it to understand and manage the risk corruption poses to the organisation.
  • The force should use early interventions routinely as part of their people intelligence work to support those at risk of falling into corrupt practices.
  • The force should ensure it:
    • has sufficient capability and capacity in their countercorruption unit to be effective in their proactive approach to counter corruption;
    • has full ICT monitoring to effectively protect the information contained within their systems; and
    • build effective relationships with the individuals and organisations that support and work with vulnerable persons.

Detailed findings for question 2

3

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

Good

The force it good at treating its workforce fairly. Staff have increasing levels of trust and confidence in their leaders. They view the commissioner as being instrumental in this cultural change. Force leaders are good at getting feedback from staff and sharing this information. The force has reviewed its grievance procedure and the workforce values the new process. But trust and confidence would improve further with better communication from the force about how it addresses problems.

The force has a positive and strong approach to diversity. It is focusing on making its workforce more representative of the community it serves. It is more representative than ever before, and the force aims to improve that further. It has improved its procedures for managing complaints of internal discrimination.

The force has experienced a huge demand for its services in recent years. It needs to assess how its staff are affected by long working hours. It recently developed a strategic response to the wellbeing of its workforce. But this has yet to be fully implemented. The workforce does not value current occupational health provision.

We are concerned that the force is expecting supervisors to take most of the responsibility for supporting wellbeing. Supervisors report feeling overwhelmed with their performance management responsibilities, increasing workloads and new duties with the force restructure. The force should support its supervisors with wellbeing concerns.

The force has a people strategy with clear career pathways. But staff don’t feel they have much opportunity for career progression. The force should address this. It works hard to remove potential barriers to promotion.

Areas for improvement

  • The force should improve the way it communicates with its workforce to increase trust and confidence in its leaders and should communicate how it has responded to problems identified by its workforce.
  • The force should improve how it manages and monitors individual performance, supporting its supervisors in making fair and effective assessments so that staff value the process. The force should also make sure performance development reviews happen consistently and fairly across the organisation and manage poor performance effectively.
  • The force should support its supervisors to manage staff wellbeing, including giving them the time and skills to recognise the signs of problems and intervene early.
  • The force should assess how its workforce is affected by relying on working overtime and breaching the working time directive to manage demand.

Detailed findings for question 3