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South Yorkshire PEEL 2018

Legitimacy

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

Last updated 27/09/2019
Good

South Yorkshire Police treats the public and its workforce legitimately.

The force is outstanding at developing and maintaining an ethical culture. The chief constable and force leaders act as role models. The workforce knows and believes in the moral and ethical high standards expected of them. The force has a no-blame culture and it uses an organisational justice model to guide its decision making. It follows national vetting guidance and routinely monitors vetting decisions to identify and address any issues.

The force is outstanding at tackling corruption. It has conducted a full assessment of its corruption threats and has a clear strategy to tackle them. It takes early action to support people who may be at risk of corruption, and monitors information systems to identify corrupt behaviour.

The force is good at treating its workforce fairly. It works to understand the issues of fairness affecting its people and has a range of ways for staff to voice their concerns, and for leaders to seek and act on feedback. Where the force identifies unfairness, it works to reduce this. It has a positive action strategy to encourage more diversity in its workforce.

Wellbeing is a priority for the force. Leaders understand and promote this. We found a good range of self-help tools available for officers and staff. The force takes timely action to support its people, but its occupational health support needs to be more accessible.

The force manages the performance and development of its staff well. It has a good understanding of performance across its workforce and monitors for fair treatment. It has a good process for identifying talent. Its promotion processes are accessible, clear and open.

In 2017, we judged South Yorkshire Police as good at treating the public 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 was not subject to detailed 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 83 percent of those records contained reasonable grounds. We have based our assessment 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.

We found that the force has complied with some of this recommendation. But it doesn’t identify 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). It also isn’t clear that the force monitors enough data to identify 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. While it displayed information from www.police.uk showing the force’s disproportionality rate, we found no 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?

Outstanding

South Yorkshire Police is outstanding at developing and maintaining an ethical culture. The chief constable and force leaders act as role models. Staff have signed up to a contract – the pledge – that commits them to high standards of ethical behaviour. The workforce knows and believes in the moral and ethical high standards expected of them. The force reinforces standards through a range of communication. These high standards help build the trust and confidence of the public. There are processes for the workforce to refer difficult ethical issues. Two independent panels support the force with its ethical decision making.

The force has a no-blame culture and uses an organisational justice model to guide its decision making, which the workforce views as fair. This is positive practice. The force does an integrity health check as part of its annual review process for officers and staff. It follows national vetting guidance and routinely monitors vetting decisions to identify and address any difference in its treatment of people.

Detailed findings for question 2

3

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

Good

There are many ways for staff to voice concerns about fairness at work and for leaders to seek and act on feedback. Where the force identifies unfairness, it seeks to reduce this. It has a positive action strategy to encourage more diversity in its workforce and its latest recruitment has increased the number of BAME and female officers. It has improved its grievance procedure but still needs to have a better understanding of the concerns raised by the workforce about fairness that sit outside the formal process.

Wellbeing is a clear priority for the force, and leaders understand and promote this. Leaders play a positive role in raising the awareness of wellbeing needs and provision. We found a good range of self-help tools available for staff. The force takes timely action to support people, but its occupational health provision needs to be more accessible.

The force manages the performance and development of its staff well. It supports supervisors to conduct fair and effective assessments through masterclasses on managing and assessing performance. The force has a good understanding of performance across its workforce and it has a full, open and well-publicised process for identifying talent. Its promotion processes are accessible, clear and open. The force provides good support to its workforce to overcome any potential barriers to accessing promotion.

Areas for improvement

  • The force should ensure it has effective governance arrangements in place to analyse a range of workforce data and information to identify the greatest threats to wellbeing and take effective action to address them.
  • The force should ensure that it analyses and understands disparities and patterns in its grievance and local resolution arrangements.
  • The force should improve its provision for physical and mental health referrals through its occupational health provision.

Detailed findings for question 3