South Yorkshire PEEL 2017
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
South Yorkshire 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 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 and good at ensuring its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully. However, some aspects of the way in which it treats its workforce with fairness and respect are judged to require improvement.
South Yorkshire Police understands the importance of treating people with fairness and respect and continues to emphasise the standard of behaviour it expects from the workforce. The force understands the importance of fair and respectful treatment, seeks feedback from those who use its services and encourages external advisory groups to examine its work closely. The workforce has a good understanding of how to use its coercive powers fairly and respectfully. Its use of its stop and search powers is also good.
South Yorkshire Police has strong ethical leadership through its chief officer team, which was newly formed in 2017. Leaders are good at seeking advice from others and at considering the ethical implications of decisions. The force provides the public with clear, useful and accessible information about how to make a complaint. It is good also at keeping complainants updated and it supplies them with the relevant statutory information and the findings once a complaint has been resolved. The force identifies, responds to and investigates allegations of discrimination well.
However, South Yorkshire Police needs to improve some aspects of the fair and respectful treatment of its workforce, especially the way it communicates and supports wellbeing and prevents problems with workforce wellbeing. It has improved its understanding of the risks and threats to workforce wellbeing, but still gives insufficient weight to mental and emotional wellbeing. It has in place only a limited range of effective, preventative measures designed to improve wellbeing and minimise the risks to workforce wellbeing. The force seeks feedback from the workforce. Generally, it responds well once concerns, including grievances, have been identified. Its processes for managing performance, identifying and developing talent and selecting candidates for leadership are fair and transparent, although independent oversight of these processes remains limited. The force understands fully the importance of addressing potential disproportionality in the recruitment, retention and progression of members of the workforce – and in complaint and misconduct allegations. It is addressing this problem whenever it encounters it.
To what extent does the force treat all of the people it serves with fairness and respect?
South Yorkshire Police understands the importance of treating people with fairness and respect and continues to reinforce this through training and raising awareness. The chief constable promotes the need to treat people with fairness and respect to members of the workforce. In turn, they receive training in effective communications with the public and on the fair and respectful use of their coercive powers. However, only limited training has taken place in understanding unconscious bias. The force has undertaken some work to better understand the public’s concerns about fair and respectful treatment, seeking feedback from those who have used the police’s services and from external advisory groups. It has examined its use of its stop and search powers. However, we found that the local advisory groups were not as effective and diverse as they could be. The force has started work to address this problem.
Areas for improvement
- The force should improve the way in which it seeks external feedback and challenge from young people.
How well does the force ensure that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully?
South Yorkshire Police has strong ethical leadership through its chief officer team, which was formed this year. Leaders are good at seeking advice from others and consider the ethical implications of their decisions. The force is developing and maintaining an ethical culture by emphasising the behaviour it expects of its workforce. It has drawn up a realistic plan to vet the workforce in line with national guidelines. The force provides the public with clear, useful and accessible information about how to make a complaint. It is good also at updating complainants, providing them with the relevant statutory information and supplying them with findings once the complaint has been dealt with. The force identifies and investigates allegations of discrimination well. However, it needs to make sure that it refers all complaints to the Independent Police Complaints Commission that meet the criteria for mandatory referral.
To what extent does the force treat its workforce with fairness and respect?
South Yorkshire Police needs to improve the fairness of some aspects of the way in which its treats its workforce, especially in terms of the way it supports and communicates with them about wellbeing and prevents wellbeing problems. The force is beginning to improve its understanding of the risks and threats, however. It uses a limited range of effective, preventative measures to improve wellbeing and minimise the risks. This is particularly the case for officers and for staff working in specialist units. The force recognises its shortcomings in this field and advertised recently for a specialist in human resources to lead this work. The force seeks feedback and challenge from the workforce. Its processes for managing performance and for identifying and developing talent and selecting for leadership are fair, open and accessible. However, independent oversight of these processes is limited. The force has a full understanding of the importance of addressing potential disproportionality in recruitment, retention, progression, and complaint and misconduct allegations, and is addressing this. It deals with grievances well and the workforce has confidence in this process.
Areas for improvement
- The force should ensure it has effective governance arrangements in place to analyse a range of workforce data and information to identify the greatest threats to wellbeing, and take effective action to address them.
- The force should ensure it provides and effectively communicates a range of preventative measures to address wellbeing concerns early.