West Yorkshire PEEL 2017
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
West 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 the same as last year. The force is good at treating all of the people it serves with fairness and respect. It is also good at ensuring its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully and it is good at treating its workforce with fairness and respect.
West Yorkshire Police understands the importance of treating people fairly and with respect. West Yorkshire Police’s values are underpinned by the Code of Ethics, which is embedded in force policy, procedure and training. The force has a good strategic approach to stop and search and use of force, with an effective training package, scrutiny and governance of the use of these powers.
The force strives to make sure that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully. Senior leaders regularly refer their decisions to both internal and external ethics committees that provide robust oversight and critical feedback. The force is doing positive work to make the complaints process accessible and easy for the public to use, and it generally provides timely and meaningful updates to complainants on the progress of their case. The workforce has a good understanding of what discrimination is and how to identify, respond to and investigate reports of discrimination.
West Yorkshire Police uses both formal and informal methods to work with and seek challenge from the workforce. In its recent recruitment of police officers, the force has taken the opportunity to address black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) disproportionality. The force is continuing to develop a comprehensive approach to understanding staff wellbeing. A clear strategy for wellbeing is in place, with organisation-wide, district and departmental plans. The force has effective and well-established structures and processes in place to manage and develop the individual performance of officers and staff. The force participates in direct entry and fast track schemes, and has a talent progression scheme to identify members of the workforce with high potential to become senior leaders. Promotion processes were perceived to be fair by officers and staff we spoke to during the inspection.
To what extent does the force treat all of the people it serves with fairness and respect?
West Yorkshire Police has outlined to both the public and its workforce, the vision, purpose and stated values of the force. These values are underpinned by the Code of Ethics, which is embedded in force policy, procedure and training. The fact that these have been well communicated and are understood by everyone throughout the organisation, from both a tactical and strategic perspective, is evident through a visible internal communications campaign and it is apparent in decision making and planning. Most members of the workforce who we spoke to were able to explain clearly the importance of unconscious bias and gave us examples of how this awareness had been put to use during the course of their duties. The force has a good strategic approach to stop and search, with an effective training package, and scrutiny and governance of the use of these powers. The majority of frontline officers and staff we spoke to during our inspection understood the Code of Ethics and its implications in relation to the use of force and stop and search, and they were by able to outline the importance of treating people with fairness and respect.
How well does the force ensure that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully?
West Yorkshire Police has a chief officer team and district and departmental senior leaders who refer their decisions to both internal and external ethics committees, providing robust oversight and critical feedback to ensure decisions are made with ethics in mind. The force is transparent and clear in publishing chief officer gifts and hospitality, business interests, pay and rewards on its website. The force has accessible policies and robust procedures that comply with its equality duty, reflecting the Code of Ethics. There is detailed information on the force’s website regarding how to make a complaint, including appropriate support for those with disabilities or language difficulties. Posters regarding the complaints procedure are displayed in public-facing areas of police stations and custody suites, and the force has undertaken positive work informing those people who may have less trust and confidence in the police about the complaints process. The force is good at keeping complainants updated and informed, although it needs to ensure it provides complainants with a copy of the complaint record.
There is a good level of training and knowledge among Professional Standards Department (PSD) staff identifying, responding to and investigating discrimination allegations, in line with Independent Police Complaint Commission (IPCC) guidelines. The wider workforce also has an adequate understanding of discrimination and how to respond to initial reports, and the force has appropriate scrutiny and governance in place to ensure effective and legitimate complaint handling and resolution. Investigating officers within the PSD have a good understanding of equality and diversity issues and have been provided with adequate training to undertake this role, including an understanding of Acas and IPCC guidelines. Investigations into allegations of discrimination are consistently of a high quality, with a good overall level of service provided to complainants, witnesses and those subject to investigation.
To what extent does the force treat its workforce with fairness and respect?
Since our 2016 report, West Yorkshire Police has made notable improvements in the way it seeks feedback and challenge from the workforce. Officers and staff have an improved understanding of the action the force has taken in response to the last staff survey, with evidence of feedback in the five district areas in the form of ‘We asked, you said, we did’. The force has taken the recent recruitment of police officers as an opportunity to address BAME disproportionality. Extensive efforts have been made to address this issue through a range of initiatives, and engagement with the different communities within West Yorkshire. The force is continuing to develop a comprehensive approach to understanding staff wellbeing; a clear strategy is in place, with effective governance to support departmental and district activity. The force has well-established and well-used processes to manage and develop the individual performance of officers and staff, although we found a mixed picture among the workforce on how effective and useful this process is for managing individual performance. The force participates in the direct entry and fast track schemes, and has a talent progression scheme, which is now in its fourth year, to identify and support high-potential members of the workforce to become senior leaders. The force has also invested in training and development through senior leadership and career development forums which are open to both officers and staff.