Cleveland PEEL 2017
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Cleveland Police is judged as requiring improvement 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 requires improvement in aspects of how it treats the people it serves with fairness and respect. It requires improvement at ensuring its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully and it requires improvement in aspects of how it treats its workforce with fairness and respect.
Cleveland Police continues to improve some aspects of the way in which it treats the people it serves with fairness and respect. The force ensures that its officers and staff understand the importance of treating people with fairness and respect and it communicates this importance clearly through its Everyone Matters programme. Members of the workforce have a good understanding of how to use coercive powers fairly, although the way these powers are actually used, recorded and monitored requires improvement. The force encourages ethical leadership and decision-making, and has made considerable progress in these areas, although there are still some problems due to internal processes, including vetting backlogs.
We were pleased to find that the force identifies, responds to and investigates allegations of discrimination adequately. Although we found that the force needs to improve the way it communicates generally with all potential and existing complainants. The force is consistently good at seeking feedback and challenge from its workforce. In general, the force deals with grievances thoroughly and professionally, although the time it takes can affect the wellbeing of those involved, and officers and staff we spoke to had little confidence in the process. Cleveland Police prioritises workforce wellbeing and has a good understanding of the relevant threats and risks. An effective range of wellbeing support is available to officers and staff, although this is not recognised and accessed in all local areas. We were pleased to find that the force has improved the fairness of its promotion processes, although more work needs to be done to improve the management and development of individual performance, and to identify and develop talent from across the workforce.
To what extent does the force treat all of the people it serves with fairness and respect?
Cleveland Police clearly values and communicates the importance of treating people with fairness and respect. The force has invested into improving the understanding of officers and staff on how to treat people with fairness and respect, including training relating to unconscious bias and communication skills. The officers and staff we spoke to were able to articulate this understanding and also had good understanding of how to use coercive powers fairly and lawfully. However, we were disappointed to find that the force continues to require improvement in the way grounds for stop and search are recorded, and has only recently introduced monitoring of comprehensive data on the use of force. The force’s external scrutiny groups do not include any young people and there is no external scrutiny of the use of police powers such as stop and search or use of force.
Areas for improvement
- The force should improve external scrutiny of its data; involve young people in its scrutiny arrangements and offer those scrutinising the force appropriate training on the use of police powers.
The following AFI from HMICFRS’ 2015 Legitimacy inspection remains:
- The force should continue with the improvements it has started to ensure that all stop and search records include sufficient reasonable grounds to justify the lawful use of the power, and that officers fully understand the grounds required to stop and search a person.
How well does the force ensure that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully?
The force is improving its processes to ensure its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully. It has good ethical leadership and ethical decision-making across the workforce, as a result of effective leadership, communication and training, and has made considerable progress in this area, particularly through the ‘Everyone Matters’ programme. The force has made limited progress towards addressing the backlog of officers and staff who require re-vetting. The force could do more to make the complaints system accessible to all, and it needs to improve the way it keeps complainants updated, although we were pleased to find that the force is generally good at identifying, responding to and investigating discrimination. The force recognises these concerns and intends to address them as a result of an independent review of its professional standards department.
Areas for improvement
- The force should ensure that it complies with IPCC statutory guidance for keeping complainants informed at all stages of the complaints process.
The following AFI from HMICFRS’ 2016 Legitimacy inspection remain:
- The force should ensure it complies with all aspects of the current national guidelines for vetting.
To what extent does the force treat its workforce with fairness and respect?
The force is consistently good at seeking feedback and challenge from the workforce. The force is also generally good at identifying, investigating and resolving grievances, although we did find the time it takes to process a grievance is too long in most cases, which can have a negative impact on the wellbeing of those involved. We also found that the workforce has little confidence in using the grievance process for fear of repercussions. The force understands the importance of addressing potential disproportionality in recruitment, retention, and progression, and continues to prioritise the need for a more diverse workforce.
Cleveland Police prioritises wellbeing and has a good understanding of the threats and risks to the wellbeing of its workforce. The force has an effective range of mechanisms to which individuals can be referred, although this provision is not fully recognised within some local policing areas and not all supervisors have yet been trained to identify the early warning signs of wellbeing problems. The force’s management and development of individual performance requires improvement. It has assessed and improved its promotion processes in line with best practice, although the force has no way of systematically identifying or developing talent across its workforce.
Areas for improvement
- The force should reassure its workforce about the grievance procedure, improve the timeliness of dealing with grievances and ensure that appropriate support is put in place.
The following AFIs from HMICFRS’ 2016 Legitimacy inspection remain:
- The force should put measures in place to understand and address the wellbeing concerns of its workforce.
- The force should improve the way it manages individual performance.