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West Mercia PEEL 2018

Legitimacy

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

Last updated 27/09/2019
Requires improvement

The force needs to improve in terms of how legitimately it treats the public and its workforce.

The force decides its priorities without community-based consultation. We note that there is some evidence of dissatisfaction within the community about the force’s decision to end its alliance with Warwickshire Police.

The force is inconsistent in its approach to unconscious bias and effective communications skills training.

The force could do more to understand its stop and search data. It could also do more to address disparities in different search types, and to address disproportionality.

The force is good at maintaining an ethical culture. Recent changes to its practices include training for custody staff about the needs of transgender people. The force also has an effective approach to tackling corruption. And it has an effective and comprehensive plan in place to tackle abuse of position for a sexual purpose.

The force has some way to go in terms of improving potential unfairness at work. There is less confidence about the force in some respects at its junior levels.

The workforce speaks highly of wellbeing support services. But we found examples of a lack of basic support, including an absence of psychological screening and trauma risk management for those who need it.

The force needs to manage poor performance among its workforce better than it does. It is working to address some perceptions of unfairness.

Questions for Legitimacy

1

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

Requires improvement

During our inspection, there were good examples of the neighbourhood policing team working with communities.

However, the force decides its priorities without community-based consultation. Some members of independent advisory groups (IAGs) feel that the force could work more meaningfully with the community. The force decided to end its alliance with Warwickshire Police without community consultation. We note that there is dissatisfaction about this decision in some quarters.

The force is inconsistent in its approach to unconscious bias and effective communications skills training. Some officers would welcome training on giving difficult messages.

The force could do more to understand its stop and search data. It could also do more to address disparities in different search types, and to address disproportionality.

The force needs to make sure that officers use body-worn video to record all stop and searches. It has complied with only some of the stop and search-related recommendations of our 2017 legitimacy report for all forces.

Areas for improvement

  • The force should review its approach to unconscious bias and effective communications skills training to help it better achieve its community engagement aims.
  • The force should better understand its stop and search data, particularly relating to disproportionality, using this understanding to make improvements to the way it uses stop and search.

Detailed findings for question 1

2

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

Good

The force is good at maintaining an ethical culture. Officers and staff have signed to confirm their receipt and understanding of the Code of Ethics. The workforce readily takes part in discussions about ethical dilemmas. Changes to the force’s practices include training for custody staff about transgender people’s needs.

The force is up to date with most elements of the vetting of its personnel and there are no backlogs. It complies with the national Vetting Code of Practice and has achieved our 2016 vetting recommendation. However, enhanced vetting is not up to date for a very small percentage of the workforce working in some of the most specialist roles.

The force has an effective approach to tackling corruption, including a people intelligence board (PIB). This maintains force integrity, public legitimacy and confidence.

We note that, in the absence of technical solutions, the force is reliant on the limited analytical capacity available within the anti-corruption unit (ACU).

The force has an effective and comprehensive plan in place to tackle abuse of position for a sexual purpose.

Areas for improvement

  • 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?

Requires improvement

The force has some way to go in terms of improving potential unfairness at work. There is less confidence about the force at its junior levels.

According to our review, the force runs its grievance process well, but not all staff trust it. By contrast, the workforce spoke positively about initiatives such as ‘100 little things’.

There are concerns about the progression of women in the workforce and the fact that the force is not fully representative of the communities it serves. The force is working on both counts: for example, there are activities in place to advise black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) candidates about job applications. The chief constable has a vision of a representative workforce by 2025.

The force has much work to do during the nominated year of wellbeing. The workforce speaks highly of wellbeing support services, of their relationships with supervisors and of the peer support network. But we found examples of a lack of basic support, including an absence of psychological screening and trauma risk management for those who need it.

The force needs to manage poor performance among its workforce better than it does. It is working to address some perceptions of unfairness.

Areas for improvement

  • The force should ensure it provides suitable training, support and capacity for its supervisors so that they have the necessary time to recognise the signs and provide the necessary early intervention response for managing wellbeing issues.
  • The force should improve how it manages individual performance and identifies talent, ensuring reviews are consistently and fairly applied across the workforce and valued by all, and that poor performance is managed consistently.
  • The force should ensure that it provides suitable training, support and capacity for its supervisors so that they are fully equipped and confident to manage the performance and development of their staff, including effectively managing poor performance and identifying talent.
  • The force should ensure that its promotion and selection processes are accessible and transparent and are perceived by the workforce as fair.

Detailed findings for question 3