Cambridgeshire PEEL 2017
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Cambridgeshire Constabulary is judged to be good at how legitimately it keeps people safe and reduces crime. For the areas of legitimacy we looked at this year, our overall judgment is the same as last year. The force is judged to be good at treating the people it serves with fairness and respect. It is judged to be good at ensuring its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully and good at treating its workforce with fairness and respect.
Cambridgeshire Constabulary is good at treating the people it serves with fairness and respect. The force ensures its workforce receives the training and guidance it needs to develop effective communication skills, use coercive powers appropriately and ensure that unconscious bias does not affect decision-making. The workforce has a good understanding of what constitutes reasonable grounds for stop and search.
The force is developing its scrutiny of the use of force to ensure that is fair. It recognises it needs effective internal scrutiny of use of force and body-worn video camera footage and is taking action to address these areas. The force receives external feedback and challenge, including from two effective external scrutiny groups that assess its use of stop and search powers.
Cambridgeshire Constabulary promotes an ethical culture and ensures that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully. Leaders act as positive role models and have an ethical approach to decision-making. However, the force needs to ensure that it complies with national vetting standards.
The force makes it easy for the public to make a complaint and offers extra support to those who need it. It is good at updating complainants on the progress of their complaint and provides them with easily understood information on the outcome. Although it generally identifies and investigates allegations of discrimination well, it needs to improve how those involved are updated on progress.
Cambridgeshire Constabulary is good at treating its workforce with fairness and respect. The force encourages challenge and feedback and is proactive in the way that it identifies and resolves workforce concerns. It provides a comprehensive and accessible wellbeing programme and uses preventative measures to improve workforce wellbeing. Since last year, the force has improved its welfare training for all supervisors. The force is developing fair and effective performance assessment, selection and promotion processes in alliance with Bedfordshire Police and Hertfordshire Constabulary.
To what extent does the force treat all of the people it serves with fairness and respect?
Cambridgeshire Constabulary is good at treating all the people it serves with fairness and respect. Leaders communicate the force’s values to the workforce and ensure officers and staff understand the importance of treating people fairly and with respect. The force provides training and guidance on effective communication skills and on the appropriate use of coercive powers, and is introducing training on how to recognise and overcome unconscious bias. The workforce have a good understanding of how to use coercive powers fairly and respectfully as well as what constitutes reasonable grounds for carrying out a search.
The force is developing its scrutiny of the use of force to ensure that it is fair. The force receives feedback and challenge from a new external ethics and advisory group and ensures it responds appropriately. The force has two effective external scrutiny groups that assess the use of stop and search powers. The force recognises and is addressing its lack of effective internal scrutiny of body-worn video camera footage.
Areas for improvement
- The force needs to ensure that its data for use of force (including body-worn video footage) is monitored by both an internal and an external group to provide oversight.
How well does the force ensure that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully?
Cambridgeshire Constabulary is good at ensuring its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully. Ethics and values are well established throughout the force and are used by leaders in their decision-making. Leaders develop and review policies and procedures in line with the Code of Ethics. The force has an internal ethics group which reviews ethical issues and provides support and guidance. The chief officer team is approachable and the workforce feel confident to raise ethical issues with its members.
The force does not yet comply with the national vetting standards and is taking a risk-based approach, meaning that vetting for high-risk posts and new recruits is prioritised. However, it has an achievable plan to comply with the standards.
Cambridgeshire Constabulary makes it easy for members of the public to make a complaint using its website, which includes options for information in other languages and support for people who have visual or hearing impairments. Front counter staff do not have force-specific printed information on how to make a complaint. The force is good at updating complainants on the progress of their complaint and provides them with easily understood information on the outcome. The force generally identifies and investigates public complaints of discrimination well. However, in the cases we reviewed involving internal misconduct allegations, the parties involved in the allegations did not always receive regular updates. The force should ensure that it refers internal misconduct cases of discrimination to the IPCC.
Areas for improvement
- The force should ensure that it has a credible plan to comply with all aspects of the national vetting standards by December 2018, in line with HMICFRS’ nationwide recommendation in 2016.
- The force should ensure that all allegations which meet the mandatory criteria for referral to the IPCC are so referred, and that it updates witnesses and subjects regularly.
- The force should improve the quality and distribution of its printed information about how to make a complaint, in line with IPCC statutory guidance.
To what extent does the force treat its workforce with fairness and respect?
Cambridgeshire Constabulary is good at treating its workforce with fairness and respect. The force is committed to understanding the issues that have the greatest effect on officers, staff and volunteers. The chief officer team encourages challenge and feedback. Officers and staff we spoke with said that the force has an open culture in which they are able to express their views. The force is proactive in the way that it identifies and resolves workforce concerns. It is working to increase equality and diversity in its workforce so that it is more representative of the communities it serves.
The force has a comprehensive and accessible wellbeing programme and has put in place preventative measures to improve workforce wellbeing. Since last year, the force has improved its welfare training for all supervisors so they can recognise warning signs and intervene early. The officers and staff we spoke with felt that their wellbeing is a priority for the force.
In the three forces in the alliance, processes for managing individual performance, development and promotion opportunities are being aligned to make them consistent and fair. Work is in progress at the alliance level to identify how to make the personal development review process more meaningful.
Areas for improvement
- The force should ensure that the grievance process complies with the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service codes of practice and guidance, particularly relating to timescales, records, audit trails, and updates and support to witnesses and workforce members who have raised a grievance.
- The force should ensure it develops and supports its supervisors and managers to conduct fair, effective and consistent assessments that support continuous professional development and manage poor performance, including establishing an effective quality assurance process.