In the first of a series of HMIC PEEL (Policing Effectiveness, Efficiency and Legitimacy) reports released today, Avon and Somerset Constabulary has been commended for keeping local communities safe and reducing crime.
An overall judgement of ‘good’ for Avon and Somerset was the conclusion of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary following their latest inspection of forces across England and Wales into policing legitimacy.
Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “The principle purpose of a police service is to keep people safe and reduce crime. It’s therefore important to have HMIC’s acknowledgement that Avon and Somerset Constabulary is achieving a legitimate standard that local people have a right to expect.
“I’m delighted to see the value of local policing teams recognised within the report as well as the Constabulary’s commitment to an ethical and inclusive workforce. The report has also highlighted key learnings which I am in discussions with the Constabulary about particularly around ways the Independent Resident’s Panel can scrutinise the use of taser and stop and search.”
Inspectors recognised the force’s commitment to the need for an ethical and inclusive workforce. Our work in recent weeks encouraging all sectors of our community to consider Avon and Somerset Police as their employer of choice is a reflection of our continuing determination to achieve this.
Gareth Morgan, Deputy Chief Constable, welcomed the findings: “ Avon and Somerset Constabulary has had a very challenging and testing 18 months. Throughout this time we have been determined to remain focused on keeping local communities safe and reducing crime. It’s what we’re here to do. Our challenge now is to build further still on the findings of the inspectors and on our engagement with the communities we serve.”
HMIC also said of Avon and Somerset Constabulary that:
- local police teams engage positively with the public and have a good understanding of their neighbourhoods and their needs , as shown by the good work with the Somali community in Bristol.
- social media is a well-used channel for public engagement and involvement, and the public are also encouraged to engage with us through local meetings, open days and a range of opportunities for voluntary work with the police.
- call handlers and front desk staff were generally polite, friendly and helpful and most officers and staff behave in a respectful and fair manner.
HMIC found the practice and behaviour of staff reflected an ethical culture. They paid particular attention to the force’s “Be Proud” programme which promotes the Code of Ethics and reinforces expectations of ethical behaviour.
While the inspectors acknowledged that the force was compliant with the best use of stop and search it said there was room for some improvement to ensure understanding of the scheme was consistent across the force. Positive steps have been underway for some time to address this. A Stop and Search Summit was held over a year ago involving Independent Advisory Groups members whose role is to work with local policing areas, oversee performance and raise concerns and issues from their local community. The Summit spawned a series of follow up and oversight meetings which consider the continuing development and review of Stop and Search.
Posted on Thursday 11th February 2016