Merseyside PEEL 2018
How legitimately does the force treat the public and its workforce?
Merseyside Police is good at treating the public and its workforce fairly.
It has a positive ethical culture and an open learning environment. Its leaders demonstrate this to the workforce. It is active in showing its officers and staff which behaviours are acceptable and unacceptable. But not everyone knows how or where to raise ethical concerns.
Since our 2017 legitimacy inspection the force has taken steps to address the vetting needs for its officers and staff. It is good at managing corruption risks, but it could use more of its data to identify those at risk of corruption.
In 2017 we judged the force to be good at both treating the public and its workforce fairly.
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 98 stop and search records to check that they were made on reasonable grounds. We found that 87 percent of those records gave reasonable grounds. This assessment is based only on the grounds recorded by the searching officer, 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 of this recommendation. But it doesn’t identify the extent to which find rates differ between people from different ethnicities and across different types of searches (including separate identification of find rates for drug possession and supply-type offences). Additionally, it isn’t clear that it monitors enough data to identify the prevalence of possession-only drug searches or the extent to which these align with local or force-level priorities.
We reviewed the force’s website and found no obvious mention of analysis it had carried out to understand and explain reasons for disparities or any subsequent action taken.
How well does the force ensure that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully?
Merseyside Police is good at maintaining an ethical and lawful workplace. It has both a strategic and a lower-level ethics meeting at which the workforce can raise ethical concerns. However, the force should make sure that its officers and staff know that these meetings exist and how to raise matters for consideration. It also needs to make sure that any learning is shared.
Since our 2017 legitimacy inspection, the force has taken positive steps to address the vetting process for its workforce. It has now cleared the vetting backlog, and renewals are promptly dealt with. And it shares data with the College of Policing to make sure corrupt individuals can’t re-enter policing.
Although the force is good at managing corruption risks, it could do more to recognise these risks. It has gaps in its ability to monitor all its IT equipment, meaning that misuse of systems and potential corruption may not always be identified.
The force has taken steps to broaden understanding of the important problem of abuse of position for a sexual purpose. But we found that more needs to be done to ensure that there is a clear understanding of this throughout the whole workforce. This especially applies to supervisors, who need to be able to spot warning signs and take early action to prevent harm.
Areas for improvement
- The force should ensure the workforce understand how to raise ethical issues with them and that learning outcomes are shared.
- The force should ensure it monitors all relevant information technology to effectively protect its information.
- The force should take steps to improve workforce knowledge and understanding of the abuse of position for a sexual purpose, including supervisors.
To what extent does the force treat its workforce 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.In 2017 we identified two areas for improvement.
- The force should ensure its supervisors can recognise and support wellbeing.
- The force should improve how it manages individual performance.
We consider this is now improved.
The force has made progress with a new talent management programme and introduced a new e-PDR process. However, its PDR completion rate is low. We will revisit this in subsequent inspections.