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Gloucestershire PEEL 2018


How legitimately does the force treat the public and its workforce?

Last updated 02/05/2019

Gloucestershire Constabulary’s leaders act as positive ethical role models. Officers and staff understand the force’s values. Leaders use these values when they make decisions. There is an annual integrity check. The promotion process includes an assessment of ethical behaviour.

Leaders foster a no-blame culture that does not try to blame people for mistakes but instead learn from what went wrong. Officers and staff feel that the force supports them if they have made mistakes.

Although the force has vetted all officers and staff, it has a backlog of employees who have worked for the force for over ten years but whose vetting has lapsed. The constabulary has not re-vetted them. This poses a considerable security risk. It has recruited more vetting staff to solve this problem.

The force has effective methods of telling all officers and staff about the standards of behaviour it expects. It manages and identifies any risks of corruption. But the counter-corruption unit does not have enough resources to monitor the workforce’s use of internet searches and social media, which presents a possible risk.

Officers and staff understand the harm caused by abuse of authority for a sexual purpose. The force has trained supervisors to recognise the warning signs of this type of serious corruption.

Questions for Legitimacy


To what extent does the force treat all of the people it serves with fairness and respect?


This question was not subject to detailed inspection in 2018/19, and our judgment from the 2017 legitimacy inspection has been carried over. However, we reviewed a representative sample of 182 stop and search records to assess the reasonableness of the recorded grounds. We found that 91 percent contained reasonable grounds. Our assessment is based on the grounds recorded by the searching officer and not the grounds that existed at the time of the search.

In our 2017 legitimacy report, we recommended that all forces should:

  • monitor and analyse comprehensive stop and search data to understand reasons for disparities;
  • take action on those; and
  • publish the analysis and the action by July 2018.

We found that the force has complied with some elements of this recommendation. It monitors and analyses stop and search data to understand reasons for disparities. However, it does not identify the extent to which find rates vary between people from different ethnicities and across different types of searches (including separate identification of find rates for drug possession and supply-type offences). It also isn’t clear that the force monitors sufficient data to identify the frequency of possession-only drug searches or the extent to which these align with local or force-level priorities. We reviewed the force’s website, but were unable to find information, analysis of the reasons for the disparities or any explanation of action it may have taken to address the imbalance.

We will continue to monitor progress in this area.


How well does the force ensure that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully?


Areas for improvement

  • The force should ensure all officer and staff have at least the lowest level of vetting clearance for their roles and clear any backlogs, so it complies fully with the national vetting guidelines.
  • The force should monitor its vetting decisions to identify disparities and disproportionality (e.g. BAME groups) and act to reduce them where appropriate.
  • The force should ensure that its counter corruption unit:
    • has enough capability and capacity to counter corruption effectively and proactively; and
    • can fully monitor all of its computer systems, including mobile data, to proactively identify data breaches, protect the force’s data and identify computer misuse.

Leaders in Gloucestershire Constabulary act as positive, ethical role models. Officers and staff understand the force’s values and ethics well.

The promotion process now includes an assessment of ethical behaviour. Supervisors have training in ethical leadership. Force policies and procedures about business interests and notifiable associations support an ethical approach and the workforce understands them.

We found that the force is not meeting all national vetting standards because it is not routinely vetting all officers and staff after ten years. This means that it cannot find out about any security risks that might have appeared during that time.

Gloucestershire Constabulary identifies and manages organisational corruption risks adequately. It has completed a counter-corruption strategic assessment and control strategy, but it could improve this.

The counter-corruption unit does not have enough resources to actively collect intelligence information. The force cannot monitor the use of all its ICT systems routinely and does not know when it will be able to introduce this. As a result, it has a gap in its anti-corruption capability. The counter-corruption unit can monitor open source and social media, which includes internet searches.

Gloucestershire Constabulary has an effective, confidential system for its workforce to submit information about corrupt behaviour.

Detailed findings for question 2