Merseyside Police praised for 'strong ethical culture'

Merseyside / December 08

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has today published its Police Legitimacy and Police Leadership reports for all forces across the country, following a number of HMIC inspections over the last year.

In the Legitimacy report, Merseyside Police was given an overall rating of good and given ratings of good for the three categories inspected by HMIC:

• To what extent does the force treat all of the people it serves with fairness and respect?
• How well does the force ensure that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully?
• To what extent does the force treat its workforce with fairness and respect?

Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary found, “Merseyside Police is good in the way it deals with the public, treats its staff and how it promotes ethical and lawful behaviour among its workforce. It treats people that it serves and its officers and staff with fairness and respect. The culture of the organisation reflects this through its fair and respectful treatment of people, and ethical, lawful approaches to integrity. The organisations fair and respectful treatment of its workforce and its concern for welfare and wellbeing of officers and staff equally demonstrates this. Senior leaders actively promote the force’s values.”

As part of annual inspections, HMIC also assessed the leadership of Merseyside Police. This inspection focused on how the force understands, develops and displays leadership.

This report found the force has, “established what it expects from its leaders and communicates this so that the whole workforce is aware and understands.” It also described how the force has “created an open an innovative culture that welcomes new ideas from police staff and officers at all levels.”

Following the publication of these reports, Merseyside Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy said: “I congratulate Merseyside Police on two positive reports released today by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC).

“These Inspections examined two crucial areas; legitimacy and leadership. High integrity, strong ethics and absolute fairness are at the heart of good policing. It is what the public expect and deserve. These vital qualities should be embedded in our police service and it is only right that chief officers lead by example, so it is fitting that HMIC have released these assessments simultaneously.

“It is clear that inspectors found what I see on a daily basis working with Merseyside Police; that the force is led by chief officers who have created an ‘open and innovative culture’, which encourages challenge and ‘leadership at every rank’; that there is a culture of fairness and respect throughout the organisation and this culture is deep-rooted in the way officers and staff serve our communities. It should be a source of pride for the whole force and of reassurance to the public, that HMIC assessed Merseyside Police as having a ‘strong ethical culture’.

“It is vital that the police maintains a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that ‘the police are the public and the public are the police’, as enshrined in the Peelian principles. This can only be done if the whole organisation acts in a fair and ethical way and is viewed with integrity by the public. That is why these reports are so important and it is why, as HMIC has recognised, the Force takes such a robust and transparent approach when any officer or member of staff is found to behave in an inappropriate or unfair way.

“I’m pleased that these reports also recognise that the force is driving forward improvement in these important areas to ensure they are continuously delivering the best possible service to the people of Merseyside.”

Deputy Chief Constable Carl Foulkes said: “We recognise that in order to best serve the communities of Merseyside, we need to ensure that we support, nurture and communicate with all of our officers and staff. We believe our officer’s use of discretion, gives them the ability to use their professional judgement, allowing them to make the right decision and put the needs of victims and the community first. I welcome the fact that the legitimacy report recognises that the force, “…treats the people that it serves and its officers and staff with fairness and respect”.

“It is vital that the force acts with integrity and police with the consent of the public we serve. We can only do this is if we behave in a fair and ethical way. To that end, the report has recognised that the force had developed and maintained a strong ethical culture. The report states that, “the force continues to ensure that its workforce behave ethically and lawfully.” I am particularly pleased that HMIC note that all officers and staff with whom they came into contact during the inspection understood the importance of treating people fairly and with respect, and the link this has with public confidence. This echoes the findings of our own staff survey – repeated by HMIC in the report – that staff identify strongly with the values expressed in the Code of Ethics, are highly motivated to serve the public, are prepared to make sacrifices and want to make a positive impact on society.

“I would like to reassure the public that where an officer, or member of staff, is found not to adhere to the standards that are expected we will take positive action.”

He added: “We recognise a good understanding of leadership capabilities and qualities is critical to the effective functioning of a force and I’m pleased the leadership report has found, “the force has an excellent understanding of the force’s leadership expectation. A recent survey, “had produced evidence of strong and ethical leadership throughout the force.”

“It’s positive that the HMIC has not identified any causes of concern in either the legitimacy or leadership reports and I hope these findings, reassure our communities that we are wholly committed to putting them first by providing them with a police service they can have confidence in.”

Read the full HMIC PEEL Police Leadership 2016 assessment for Merseyside here.

Read the full HMIC PEEL Police Legitimacy 2016 assessment for Merseyside here.