The Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon (PCC) has joined Wiltshire Police in welcoming an independent report published on Thursday 11 February which gives the force a “good” grading for the way it treats the public.
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) carried out a thorough review of the culture within Wiltshire Police under what it calls the legitimacy strand of its PEEL inspections which cover police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy.
HMIC says it considers a force to be legitimate “if it has the consent of the public, and if those working in the force consistently behave in a way that is fair, ethical and within the law. The force must also generate the trust and co-operation of the public”.
Announcing its findings, the HMIC says it found “the chief constable and chief officer team in Wiltshire Police promoted a culture of professionalism and ethical behaviour”. It noted some “innovative approaches to leadership”.
The inspectors said the force had implemented a plan that set out how officers and staff should interact with the public, and that the force and PCC Angus Macpherson consulted with the public to understand the views of local communities.
Mr Macpherson, picture top, commented: “This was a very thorough inspection by HMIC which included interviews with senior leaders, analysis of data and paperwork, a public survey, focus groups and unannounced visit to police stations.
“The HMIC – rightly in my view – believes that officers and staff who feel they are treated fairly and with respect by the force are more likely to treat the public fairly and with respect.
“I was pleased that the inspectors found that the force ‘had good processes for understanding and managing the wellbeing of the workforce’ and that ‘it engages well with the communities it serves’. I have taken note of the HMIC’s finding that the force is not at present compliant with best practice for ‘stop and search’. It is clear that more work needs to be done in this sensitive policing area.
“I am heartened that an independent scrutiny panel, which reflects the black and minority ethnic communities we serve, has been established and recently held its first meeting. I look forward to meeting the panel to discuss its important work in scrutinising the manner in which stop and searches are carried out.
“I know the Chief and his senior team regard the full implementation of an action plan on ‘stop and search’ as an urgent priority. Overall, this is an overwhelmingly positive report from HMIC and I think it speaks volumes for the leadership of the force by Chief Constable Mike Veale, pictured right, and his senior team.”
T/Assistant Chief Constable Mark Cooper said: “Wiltshire officers and staff are committed to ensuring the force is effective, efficient and legitimate; this has been proven with today’s overall ‘good’ result.
“Since the inspection, work has already started to improve every aspect of our stop and search procedures. Whilst a positive report from HMIC, we are never complacent. We are working hard to ensure that all the recommendations are fully considered in order to improve our service to the public. The local community are at the heart of what we do and we continue to work with them to ensure the Force is delivering a service we can be proud of.”