Leicestershire PEEL 2017
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Leicestershire Police 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 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.
Leicestershire Police treats the public fairly and with respect, having worked hard to identify and understand the issues that have the greatest effect on public perceptions of fair and respectful treatment. The force has internal and external scrutiny processes to improve how it treats people. It works well with the independent advisory group, which provides valuable, well-informed feedback, external oversight and challenge on a wide range of issues. The force takes a progressive approach to enhancing openness in the use of stop and search powers. It holds public meetings to discuss examples of stop and search, explain the legal basis and gather public opinion about what constitutes reasonable grounds for the powers to be used.
Senior leaders act as role models and care about the workforce. The force considers ethics and values when it makes decisions that affect the whole workforce. However, more junior leaders, particularly those in operational roles, tend to follow policy rather than make their own decisions based on the force’s values. HMICFRS would like to see the force encourage a culture where leaders feel confident to make decisions and exercise their judgment according to the situation.
Information for the public about making a complaint is easy to find online and in police stations. The force manages complaints from the public well and provides additional assistance to complainants when needed.
The force recognises that there is disproportionality in the ethnic mix of its workforce and is supporting applications from under-represented minority groups. It is very successful at recruiting volunteers from BAME backgrounds into the Special Constabulary and young people into the cadets.
The force makes excellent provision for the welfare and wellbeing of its workforce. However, it needs to improve its processes for professional development and career progression. The workforce do not value the performance appraisal system and there is no scheme to identify those with high leadership potential. The force should ensure future promotion processes are accessible to all and include techniques that encourage a broad range of leadership styles.
To what extent does the force treat all of the people it serves with fairness and respect?
Leicestershire Police understands the importance of treating people fairly and with respect. The force’s organisational values prioritise the needs of the public. It has worked hard to identify and understand the issues that have the greatest effect on public perceptions of fair and respectful treatment. A new effectiveness board uses information on public complaints, feedback received through the force’s website and public opinion surveys to monitor the use of coercive powers and how the public are treated. The workforce has received training to understand unconscious bias and the officers and staff we spoke with described what it is and how it can affect decision-making. We found training on communication skills and use of coercive powers was also good. The workforce have a good understanding of effective communication and how to use coercive powers fairly and respectfully.
The force has internal and external scrutiny processes to improve how it treats people. It works with an independent advisory group, which includes three sub-groups responsible for matters relating to race, disability and the LGBT community. Group members have sufficient knowledge for their roles, and some are trained and vetted to give independent oversight in sensitive areas of force activity, such as complaints handling and use of Taser. Overall, the local community are well represented in the group, although obtaining the views of young people could be improved and the force could reply to the group’s requests for information more quickly.
The force’s scrutiny of stop and search is good and it includes seeking the public’s views. It has well-structured internal and external scrutiny arrangements. These include a stop and search reference group, which consists of members of the community, and a stop and search reasonable grounds panel meeting, a public meeting every two months where people can review and comment on a selection of stop and search encounters. The force has trained public observers to accompany officers during operations that use stop and search powers and then seeks their views about how the powers were used and how the subjects were treated by officers. The force recognises that black people are more likely to be stopped and searched and it is taking action to understand why.
How well does the force ensure that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully?
Leaders in Leicestershire Police understand their responsibility to act as role models, and senior leaders are viewed by the workforce as operating to high ethical standards. The force’s ethics, integrity and complaints committee provides independent scrutiny of policy and operational matters raised by the workforce. However, we found that few in the workforce use the online Ask the Question process to submit subjects for consideration or are aware of the committee’s conclusions.
Ethical decision-making is clear in organisational matters like policy development, when impact and equality are given thorough consideration. The force could do more to encourage leaders in operational roles to make decisions based on ethical considerations and not just rigid application of policies.
Leicestershire Police is not complying fully with national vetting standards because it has not completed vetting on officers and staff who joined before 2012, and not all have been vetted to the right level. However, it is making good progress towards resolving this and has reduced the number of officers and staff still to be vetted by nearly 1,000 in one year. Officers and staff in sensitive posts who require enhanced levels of vetting have now all been suitably been vetted.
The force has good arrangements for members of the public to make a complaint. Information is easy to find on the force website and in police stations, and additional assistance is provided to complainants when needed. The force could develop this further by ensuring information about making complaints is available to communities that have less confidence in the police.
Leicestershire Police contacts complainants at the start and end of investigations and is improving the regularity of updates to complainants during the investigation. It is good at identifying discrimination in complaint and misconduct investigations and takes appropriate action; it refers serious cases to the IPCC in accordance with the law. Officers and staff describe the working environment as being intolerant of discrimination. Senior leaders work with staff representative groups to identify trends that might suggest discrimination in the treatment of the public or the workforce.
To what extent does the force treat its workforce with fairness and respect?
Leicestershire Police uses a variety of ways to obtain feedback from the workforce, including chief officer roadshows, intranet tools for asking questions or suggesting changes, and 150 officers and staff who act as change ambassadors. However, although these offer good opportunities for communication, these systems are not working as well as they could because not all the workforce are aware of them.
The force gathers and analyses a wide range of management information to identify issues that affect the workforce’s perceptions of fairness and respectful treatment.
The workforce see the grievance procedure as fair and accessible. A force-wide workforce survey in September 2017 will offer much greater information about workforce opinions and feelings before and after the force’s change programme.
The force recognises that there is disproportionality in terms of the ethnic mix of its workforce and, although it compares favourably with other forces, it is not yet representative of the local community. It has had considerable success in attracting BAME people as volunteers and is trying new ways to encourage minority groups to apply to work in the force.
Services to support the physical and mental health and emotional wellbeing of the workforce are excellent. The breadth of services continues to grow, especially in terms of understanding, de-stigmatising and dealing with emotional and mental health problems. The force analyses management information to identify problems concerning workforce wellbeing and has effective processes to ensure leave entitlements and cancelled rest days are taken.
The force should improve the way professional development is managed and how promotion processes are operated. The appraisal system is not valued by the majority of the workforce because they do not feel it enables continuing professional development or promotion. The promotion processes for police officers need to be improved. Currently, contemporary techniques to select the best candidates are only used for senior officer promotions. The force should ensure future promotions processes encourage a broad range of leadership styles and are fully accessible to all potential applicants.
Areas for improvement
- The force should ensure that it has effective systems, processes and guidance in place to develop individual performance and manage unsatisfactory performance.
- The force should ensure that its promotion processes use contemporary techniques, are transparent and achieve equal representation from protected characteristic groups among candidates.