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Wiltshire PEEL 2018

Legitimacy

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

Last updated 01/05/2019
Good

Wiltshire Police’s leaders and workforce understand and promote the force’s values and ethics. Members of the workforce undertake an annual integrity health check and can refer any ethical concerns to the ethics board.

The force is making progress with meeting national recommendations on vetting. It has increased the vetting unit’s capacity and is prioritising high-risk posts. But it is still not evaluating its vetting decisions to see if they are affecting recruitment from diverse groups.

The force tackles internal corruption adequately but it could improve its monitoring of ICT systems. The counter corruption assessment also needs updating.

Supervisors are alert to warning signs of abuse of position for a sexual purpose and refer cases appropriately.

Wiltshire Police treats its workforce fairly. It has made progress in seeking feedback and challenge. The force is trying to encourage more diverse applicants.

The force understands wellbeing. It provides health screening and health promotion, a full-time mental health nurse, and wellness training for managers. A recent survey showed officers’ morale was among the highest in any force.

A new electronic personal development review means officers and staff can track their performance and career development. Several initiatives give staff and officers the chance to improve their skills. The workforce sees the promotion process as fair.

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 249 stop and search records to assess the reasonableness of the recorded grounds. We found that 89 percent had reasonable grounds recorded. Our assessment is based on the grounds the searching officer recorded 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 to reduce those disparities; 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). Also, it 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 and found that it publishes stop and search data and a brief explanation of the disproportionality rate. But it doesn’t publish analysis to understand the reasons for disparities or an explanation of any subsequent action taken.

We will continue to monitor progress in this area.

2

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

Good

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.
  • The force should monitor vetting decisions to identify disparities and disproportionality (e.g. BAME groups) and act to reduce them where appropriate.

Leaders in Wiltshire Police make sure the workforce knows the force’s values and the Code of Ethics. They reinforce the importance of high standards of ethical behaviour, for example at events and in online chats.

The force has recently introduced integrity checks as part of the annual performance development review process. Officers and staff understand they must notify the force of any changes to their personal circumstances.

Members of the workforce can submit problems to the ethics board. The force is expanding the membership of this board so that it better represents local communities.

Wiltshire Police has a culture that encourages learning and continuous improvement.

The force has a backlog in updating vetting clearances. It has plans to address this backlog and manage the risk. It is prioritising re-vetting officers and staff in high-risk, sensitive posts.

The force checks to see if decisions made during recruitment have a negative effect on certain groups. But it does not check how its vetting decisions may affect the recruitment of people from these groups.

Wiltshire Police needs to make sure it has enough people with the right skills in its counter corruption unit (CCU), so it can actively look for corruption. The force should improve monitoring of its IT systems.

The force recognises abuse of authority for a sexual purpose as serious corruption and refers cases appropriately.

Detailed findings for question 2

3

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

Good

Wiltshire Police is good at treating the workforce fairly. Leaders seek feedback and challenge from the workforce, and tell them what action they have taken.

The force is improving its approach to grievances and workforce concerns. It has recently introduced a new resolution procedure. We heard that this works well.

The force uses data from the employee survey and departmental surveys to understand the workforce’s perceptions of fairness and make improvements.

Wiltshire Police has worked hard to increase diversity in the workforce. It actively monitors and reviews information to identify and remove any disproportionality. The force is getting better at retaining those officers and staff with protected characteristics.

All the force’s plans and policies consider workforce welfare, morale and wellbeing. Leaders prioritise wellbeing and work with occupational health services to ensure there is no delay in accessing services. Supervisors told us that they review workloads and explore wellbeing needs in regular one-to-one meetings with their officers and staff.

The workforce likes the new electronic personal development review process. Managers and staff have now all had training on how to carry out fair performance assessments. This includes reviewing an individual’s performance from a range of perspectives, including colleagues and peers.

The force is committed to developing its workforce and makes sure officers and staff have opportunities to improve their skills and develop new ones.

Detailed findings for question 3