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West Yorkshire PEEL 2018

Legitimacy

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

Last updated 20/01/2020
Good

West Yorkshire Police treats the public and its workforce fairly.

The Code of Ethics is understood throughout the organisation. The workforce is also well acquainted with the principles of ethical decision making. However, the new ethics committee is not widely known about. Nor does it appear to have established efficient processes for responding to queries.

The force complies with the national vetting code and has met our 2016 recommendation to update its vetting assessments.

The force needs to invest more in counter-corruption activity. Its counter-corruption unit is understaffed. It does not have the capacity or capability to effectively gather intelligence and investigate potential corruption, which is a major risk to the organisation.

In 2017 we judged the force as good at treating the public and its workforce 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 inspection in 2018/19, and our judgment from the 2017 legitimacy inspection has been carried over.

However, we reviewed a representative sample of 249 stop and search records to assess the reasonableness of the recorded grounds. We found that 92 percent of those records 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 of this recommendation. But it doesn’t monitor find rates (the rate at which officers find what they were searching for) or 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). Additionally, it isn’t clear that it 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 and found no obvious 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?

Requires improvement

West Yorkshire Police understands the Code of Ethics and complies with the national vetting process.

The force’s newly reformed ethics committee needs more work to gain the confidence of officers and staff. It is not yet in their consciousness and does not appear to have established timely processes to discuss and communicate answers to queries.

However, it is the force’s counter corruption measures that require most work.

There was no regular people intelligence meeting to manage corruption (at the time of our inspection). The counter-corruption unit did not have the capacity or capability to gather intelligence and investigate potential wrongdoing. And no analysis had been done to understand how IT monitoring software – purchased but not in use – would affect that understaffed team.

The force has taken some positive action to protect vulnerable people from potential abuse of position for a sexual purpose, but not enough.

Areas for improvement

  • The force should ensure that its internal ethics committee becomes more relevant to the workforce and that its findings are better communicated.
  • The force should ensure that it 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.
  • The force should ensure that it raises confidence among its workforce in the anonymity of its confidential reporting facilities for staff to report wrongdoing.

Cause of concern

West Yorkshire Police is failing to place enough resources into tackling potential corruption within its workforce. This is a cause of concern.

Recommendations

  • The force should ensure that it has enough capability and capacity to counter corruption effectively and proactively.
Detailed findings for question 2