Lincolnshire PEEL 2017
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Lincolnshire 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 this year is the same as last year. The force is good at treating the people it serves with fairness and respect. It is also good at how well it ensures its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully, which is more positive than last year’s assessment although it now requires improvement in some of the aspects of treating its workforce with fairness and respect.
Lincolnshire Police demonstrates a strong commitment to improving how it treats the public with fairness and respect. The workforce understand the importance of effective communication skills, although they would benefit from specific guidance on how unconscious bias can affect their decision-making. Activities such as the use of force and coercive powers are scrutinised through improved internal governance arrangements as well as an independent advisory group and an external panel. The force is encouraging communities that may be less likely to contact the police to provide feedback.
The force promotes an ethical culture. Leaders are good role models and have an ethical approach to decision-making. However, there is no force-wide mechanism to discuss and resolve ethical dilemmas. The force examines and investigates complaints well, including those in which potential discrimination has been identified. However, it could provide more support for people making a complaint who need additional assistance and improve its updates for complainants on the progress of their complaint.
Lincolnshire Police requires improvement in some aspects of treating its workforce with fairness and respect. Leaders have an adequate understanding of the workforce’s perceptions, but officers and staff do not always feel able to provide feedback and challenge. The force has a comprehensive and accessible wellbeing programme that includes preventative measures to improve workforce wellbeing. However, some officers and staff feel that not enough trained welfare support is available. They also indicate that opportunities to take leave are still limited and that they often feel they operate at the limits of their wellbeing. The force is developing a more fair and effective performance assessment process.
To what extent does the force treat all of the people it serves with fairness and respect?
Leaders in Lincolnshire Police clearly understand the importance of treating people with fairness and respect. The force ensures officers and staff have the knowledge, skills and understanding that they need to treat everyone they serve fairly and with respect. However, officers and staff would benefit from specific guidance on how unconscious bias can affect their decision-making; although training in this area is planned, it will be provided to officers only. Overall, the workforce knows about effective communication skills and understands their importance, particularly the different communication techniques that are helpful when speaking with people with mental health problems or special educational needs.
Officers and staff regularly receive practical, online, and classroom-based legal training on the use of coercive powers; the force reviews their understanding and provides feedback on performance to improve how they treat people with fairness and respect. The independent advisory group also provides external scrutiny, for example on stop and search, complaints and body-worn video camera footage. Improved governance arrangements and an external panel mean that the force’s use of stop and search is monitored and scrutinised regularly to ensure the grounds for its use are reasonable.
The force is encouraging communities that may be less likely to contact the police to provide feedback and challenge. However, it could do more to provide the public with information about how it uses coercive powers and what it is doing to improve the way it uses them.
Areas for improvement
- The force should improve stop and search records to include sufficient reasonable grounds to ensure the lawful uses of the power are recorded.
How well does the force ensure that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully?
Ethics and values are well-established within Lincolnshire Police. The force’s policies and procedures take ethical considerations into account and guide leaders in their decision-making. The chief officer team reinforces these values during supervisor and senior leadership briefings, setting out expectations both for the workforce and leaders to act ethically and lawfully. The force would benefit from a method through which the workforce can refer ethical matters for discussion, so that implications and learning can be considered and shared more widely.
The public can make complaints about the force by letter, phone call, email or a web form on the force’s website. The force has advanced plans to upgrade its website to improve how information on making a complaint can be accessed. We found no information was available at the front counters of police stations about how to make a complaint. The force could provide more support for potential complainants who need additional assistance, and for those coming from communities that may lack trust and confidence in the police.
The force is good at providing complainants with clear and relevant information at the outset of their complaint and about the outcomes. However, it needs to improve how it provides complainants with regular, informative updates on the progress of their complaints.
The workforce has a good understanding of what discrimination is, and of how to identify and respond to it. The force investigates complaints well, including those in which potential discrimination has been identified.
Areas for improvement
- The force should ensure that additional assistance is offered routinely to people who wish to make a complaint, and that the type and availability of information on how to make a complaint is reviewed so that all members of the community can access the complaints process.
- The force should develop accessible arrangements through which ethical dilemmas can be discussed routinely, and be used by all officers and staff and to publish results regularly.
To what extent does the force treat its workforce with fairness and respect?
Lincolnshire Police requires improvement in some aspects of treating its workforce with fairness and respect. Leaders seek feedback and challenge from the workforce and have an adequate understanding of their views. The force identifies and resolves workforce concerns proactively. It has made good progress since 2016 in some areas, such as the workforce’s perceptions of the fairness and timeliness of investigations by the professional standards department. However, officers and staff do not always feel able to provide feedback and challenge, especially to those above the rank of inspector.
The force has a comprehensive and accessible wellbeing programme that includes a variety of effective preventative measures to improve workforce wellbeing. It has conducted some analysis to understand the risks to wellbeing. However, officers and staff maintain that not enough trained welfare support is available. They also indicate that opportunities to take leave are still limited, and that they often feel they operate at the limits of their wellbeing.
Lincolnshire Police is developing a fairer and more effective individual performance assessment process. However, some selection and promotion processes remain unclear to the workforce and could be improved by increased openness, as well as independent representation on all promotion boards.
Areas for improvement
- The force should review how senior management teams respond to and promote the benefits of wellbeing, and should encourage the workforce to raise its concerns.