Leicestershire PEEL 2016
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Leicestershire Police has been assessed as good in respect of the legitimacy with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. Our findings this year are consistent with last year’s findings, in which we judged the force to be good in respect of legitimacy.
The force is committed to treating the public with fairness and respect, and it seeks and acts on feedback. However, the force needs to improve its capacity to understand risks to the integrity of the organisation. The force treats its workforce fairly and with respect and supports their wellbeing.
Leicestershire Police is good at treating the people it serves with fairness and respect. It has clear organisational values that are reinforced by training, briefings and other internal events. The workforce have a good understanding of the importance of treating the public with fairness and respect, although their understanding of the force’s values could be improved.
The force seeks feedback and challenge from the people it serves through a variety of channels, including the force’s website, social media, independent advisory groups, public surveys and meetings, and tailored engagement with diverse communities. However, it could do more to analyse feedback and demonstrate to the public that it is taking effective action promptly.
Leicestershire Police needs to improve how it ensures that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully. Although it conducts vetting checks on all new police officers, staff and volunteer recruits, there is a backlog in vetting officers and staff who joined before 2012, which the force is addressing.
The force’s approach to corruption is reactive and focused on carrying out investigations, rather than proactively seeking intelligence on potential corruption. The anti-corruption unit lacks both capacity and analytical support, meaning that the force has a limited understanding of the risks to the integrity of the organisation.
Leicestershire Police always publishes complaints and gross misconduct investigation outcomes on its website in a timely and accessible way. Misconduct hearings are held in public and information about how the public can attend is also published on its website. The force does not currently publicise the outcomes of misconduct cases across its workforce, although we note that the force has plans to do so.
Knowledge and awareness of abuse of authority for sexual gain (taking advantage of a position of power to exploit vulnerable victims of crime) is inconsistent across the force. Senior anti-corruption unit officers recognise that this behaviour is one of their main threats. However, the force does not routinely analyse the intelligence received by the anti-corruption unit and so it cannot be certain of the scale of abuse of authority for sexual gain.
Leicestershire Police has a good understanding of what support the workforce needs and has introduced initiatives to promote and sustain physical, mental and emotional wellbeing, as well as provide services to support staff in times of need.
Supervisors across the force have a comprehensive understanding of their wellbeing responsibilities towards staff and the introduction of a new performance appraisal system is a positive step.
To what extent does the force treat all of the people it serves with fairness and respect?
Leicestershire Police’s workforce clearly understands the importance of treating the public with fairness and respect. In HMIC’s 2015 legitimacy inspection, we found positive efforts by the force to ensure the use and understanding of the Code of Ethics across the workforce. In 2016, HMIC was disappointed to find some officers and staff with little or no knowledge of the code. Despite this, those we spoke to were aware of the force’s organisational values.
The force seeks feedback and challenge from the people it serves through both traditional communication and more innovative methods. It deals with any issues raised, but needs to ensure it reviews feedback more effectively and takes stronger action regarding concerns about fairness and respect. The force has good processes in place to deal with those incidents that have the potential to affect public perceptions of policing. However, it could do more to demonstrate to the public that it is taking effective action in response to feedback and learning.
Overall, the force is good at seeking feedback on public experience and perceptions of fair and respectful treatment. It could do more to analyse feedback and information such as complaint data, which would allow it to identify and prioritise action to improve the way it treats people.
Areas for improvement
- The force should improve how it identifies and understands the issues that have the greatest impact on public perceptions of fair and respectful treatment.
How well does the force ensure that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully?
Leicestershire Police conducts vetting checks on all people joining the force and complies with the latest national standards. A backlog exists for officers and staff who joined before 2012 and were not vetted in accordance with national standards, which the force is now addressing.
The force uses ‘Our Duty’, which incorporates elements of the Code of Ethics, to communicate its vision and values to all staff and the public. We found that the knowledge and understanding of both the Code of Ethics and ‘Our Duty’ is inconsistent across the force.
The force cannot understand the full nature of risks to the integrity of the organisation because the anti-corruption unit is focused on investigations rather than on identifying risks, including risks from staff abusing their authority for sexual gain, and intervening early to manage them.
The force publishes complaints and gross misconduct investigation outcomes on its external website and information on how the public can attend upcoming misconduct hearings, although these are not well publicised across its workforce.
In our 2016 national overview of police legitimacy, we recommended that all forces should have started to implement a plan to achieve the capability and capacity required to seek intelligence on potential abuse of position for sexual gain. In 2017, we reviewed of the plans put in place by all forces to in response to this recommendation.
Areas for improvement
- The force should ensure it complies with all aspects of the current national guidelines for vetting.
- Annually, the force should produce a local counter-corruption strategic assessment and control strategy, to identify risks to the force’s integrity.
- The force should review the capacity and capability of its anti-corruption unit to ensure it can manage its work effectively.
- The force should establish and operate effective processes for identifying and managing individuals at risk of corruption.
To what extent does the force treat its workforce with fairness and respect?
Leicestershire Police has a clear focus on maintaining and improving the wellbeing of its workforce. It has a good understanding of what support the workforce needs and has introduced initiatives to promote and sustain physical, mental and emotional wellbeing, as well as providing services to support staff in times of need.
We found that supervisors across the force have a comprehensive understanding of their wellbeing responsibilities towards staff. This is reflected in high take-up rates across the organisation for the support services that are available to staff.
The force has taken positive steps by introducing a new performance appraisal system. The new system is intended to record and track personal performance, identify continuous professional development opportunities and provide the basis for managing poor performance.