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Staffordshire PEEL 2018

Legitimacy

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

Last updated 20/01/2020
Good

Staffordshire Police’s leaders are positive ethical role models. Officers and staff understand the force’s values. Leaders use these values when they make decisions.

Leaders promote a no-blame culture where the force tries not to blame people for mistakes, but instead learns from what went wrong. Officers and staff feel that the force supports them if they make mistakes.

The force needs to improve how people refer ethical concerns for discussion. This includes giving regular feedback about the decisions the force makes.

The force has vetted all officers and staff. Only a small number of the workforce need their vetting refreshed.

The force has effective ways of telling all officers and staff about the standards of behaviour it expects. It manages and identifies any risks of corruption.

Officers and staff understand the harm caused by abuse of authority for a sexual purpose. The force has trained supervisors to recognise the warning signs of this type of serious corruption.

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 182 stop and search records to assess the reasonableness of the recorded grounds. We found that 74 percent 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.

We found that the force has complied with some elements of this recommendation.

It monitors and analyses stop and search data to understand reasons for disparities.

However, it does not identify the extent to which find rates vary 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 frequency of possession-only drug searches or the extent to which these align with local or force-level priorities. We reviewed the force’s website, but we couldn’t find information on, or analysis of, the reasons for the disparities or any explanation of action it may have taken to address the imbalance.

In our last legitimacy inspection of Staffordshire Police in 2017, we identified three areas of improvement.

These were:

  • the way the force records and scrutinises use of force;
  • how it promotes learning opportunities; and
  • making sure all frontline officers have a thorough understanding of how to use all coercive powers fairly and respectfully.

Although not specifically inspected this year, we are pleased to report that the force has addressed these areas for improvement.

It has improved both its recording and scrutiny of use of all types of force. It has introduced a system to record incidents accurately. This allows the force staff safety steering group to review and scrutinise the use of force effectively.

Outside scrutiny is provided by both the Staffordshire Commissioner’s Office scrutiny group and at scrutiny panels in each of the local policing areas. This enables the force to identify trends and any learning opportunities to improve officers’ understanding and ensure that the powers are used fairly and respectfully.

The force has introduced specific learning modules to its officer safety training sessions. This includes the appropriate use of force and effective communication skills. The force highlights good practice and the footage from BWV is used to reinforce learning. The force also provides refresher courses for officers where a performance issue has been identified. 

2

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

Good

Leaders in Staffordshire Police act as positive, ethical role models. Officers and staff understand the force’s values and ethics well.

Force policies and procedures about business interests and notifiable associations (people staff know who might compromise their work) support an ethical approach. The workforce understands them.

The force needs to improve the workforce’s understanding of the process for referring ethical concerns for discussion.

We found that the force has made considerable progress in meeting national vetting standards. It has ensured that almost all members of the workforce have received at least the lowest level of vetting clearance for their roles.

Staffordshire Police identifies and manages organisational corruption risks adequately. It has completed a counter-corruption strategic assessment and control strategy.

Staffordshire Police has an effective, confidential system for its workforce to submit information about corrupt behaviour.

The force has effective methods of telling all officers and staff about the standards of behaviour it expects. It manages and identifies any risks of corruption. But the counter-corruption unit (CCU) does not have enough capacity to proactively monitor all workforce systems.

Areas for improvement

  • The force should ensure that it uses an effective process for its workforce to refer ethical concerns. This includes giving regular feedback about the decisions the force makes, to encourage more submissions of ethical dilemmas, and support individual and organisational learning.
  • The force should monitor its vetting decisions, to identify disparities and disproportionality (e.g. BAME groups) and act to address those as necessary.
  • The force should ensure that its counter-corruption unit:
    • has enough capability and capacity to counter corruption effectively and proactively; and
    • can fully monitor all of its computer systems, including mobile data, to proactively identify data breaches, protect the force’s data and identify computer misuse.

    Detailed findings for question 2

    3

    To what extent does the force treat its workforce 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. There were no areas for improvement identified from this inspection.