Gloucestershire PEEL 2017
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Gloucestershire 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 more positive than last year, when we judged the force to require improvement. The force is judged to be good at treating all of the people it serves with fairness and respect. It is now also judged to be good at how well it ensures its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully and good at treating its workforce with fairness and respect.
Gloucestershire Constabulary is assessed as good in respect of the legitimacy with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. The force has improved on last year’s inspection in which we found it to require improvement in respect of its legitimacy.
The force continues to reinforce the importance of treating people with fairness and respect and has made good progress on the areas identified for improvement in last year’s report. It has introduced a structured governance process to manage misconduct problems and complaints. It has also made improvements in how it treats its workforce with fairness and respect. However, it could do more to improve the way it identifies and develops staff with high potential.
To what extent does the force treat all of the people it serves with fairness and respect?
Leaders in Gloucestershire Constabulary clearly understand the principle of procedural justice and have taken steps to improve the extent to which all officers and staff treat the public with fairness and respect. Although the force has introduced some training, guidance and support for the workforce, it needs to complete its work in these areas to ensure that the workforce is fully effective in the future. We found that officers and staff had a reasonable understanding of the effect of personal bias and had received some guidance, but they had not been provided with specific training on how this could affect decision-making. However, the workforce have a good understanding of effective communication, particularly the importance of different communication techniques and styles when speaking to members of the community.
Through the use of well-developed internal scrutiny systems and external independent monitoring groups, the force can demonstrate that its workforce treats people with fairness and respect, and that it makes improvements when problems are identified. The use of force is consistently recorded, regularly monitored and scrutinised to improve overall understanding of its use. The force has a good level of understanding about the use of stop and search powers and it has improved how it records reasonable grounds to justify the lawful use of stop and search powers, though it still has more to do in that regard.
How well does the force ensure that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully?
Ethics and values are well established in Gloucestershire Constabulary and used by leaders in their decision-making. Policies and procedures support this ethical approach and the chief officer team reinforce their expectations on how the workforce and leaders must act ethically and lawfully. There is an established ethics committee which has an independent chair and a process for referring ethical dilemmas for discussion. Ethical decision-making is understood by the workforce, and we found that officers and staff had a good understanding of the force values, the Code of Ethics and what was expected of them.
Complaints are investigated well, including where discrimination is identified, and complainants are generally provided with updates on the progress of the investigation in a timely way. The force provides information on how to make a complaint which is easily accessible and informative; however, more could be done to ensure that people who need additional assistance are provided with the information and support they need.
Areas for improvement
- The force should do more to ensure that people who need additional assistance with making a complaint are provided with the information and support they need.
To what extent does the force treat its workforce with fairness and respect?
Gloucestershire Constabulary is good with regard to treating its workforce with fairness and respect. Leaders have a good understanding of workforce perceptions through the use of staff surveys and feedback from other sources. Good progress has been made since last year’s inspection on sharing the results of staff surveys. There is a process in place to engage staff in shaping the resolution to problems raised. There are some good initiatives in place to promote a preventative approach to wellbeing and a wellbeing profile has been developed to identify the underlying matters affecting the wellbeing of the workforce. The force has well-developed plans to introduce a performance development review process to ensure that it is fair and effective. Recruitment and promotion processes are clear and understood by the workforce and the force has introduced changes which are starting to have an effect on the perceptions of fairness.
Areas for improvement
- The force should improve its communication to all staff about the benefits of the leadership programme and how they can access it.