By: Dave Doyle
SOUTH Yorkshire Police has been criticised for how well it protects people and prevents crime.
The force was rated “requires improvement” in a report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), released today.
Its performance last year — the first time HMIC carried out such inspections — was scored “good”.
The review considers how much public consent a force can claim and whether staff behave in a way that is fair, ethical, and within the law.
Inspectors rate how well forces treat the public, ensure ethical and lawful practice and whether they treat staff with fairness and respect.
For the first time, they also assessed how well forces tackle abuse of power for sexual gain — a nationwide issue HMIC highlighted this morning.
Inspectors said the South Yorkshire force “is acting effectively to ensure that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully”.
But they added that it “should improve how it seeks feedback from the people it serves about their experiences of how the police has treated them”.
It should also “improve how it communicates the action it has taken in response to issues identified by the workforce”, the watchdogs added.
HM Inspector of Constabulary Mike Cunningham called the force’s overall rating drop “disappointing”.
He said: “The force clarifies and reinforces acceptable behaviour standards, and also has a good understanding of the risks to its integrity.”
But he added: “Although treating people fairly is a stated priority for the force, recent changes in the way it operates are preventing it from both effective involvement with local communities and improving the morale of its workforce.
“The force vets new recruits effectively, but needs to ensure that the whole
workforce is vetted to an appropriate standard in line with national guidance.
“The force also needs to improve its understanding of workforce wellbeing
“Although it has a number of methods to achieve this, we found that
these are applied infrequently and inconsistently.
“It has developed a new personal assessment system, which is aimed at development and wellbeing, but it is too early to say if this will be successful.
“I will monitor closely this and the other areas HMIC has identified for improvement, and expect to see progress made.”
HMIC has also published individual assessments of the leadership within each police force in England and Wales.
These are available at www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmic.
South Yorkshire Police’s Deputy Chief Constable Dawn Copley said: “We acknowledge the latest HIMC report and recognise the force’s grading as ‘requires improvement.’
“We will look to progress the recommendations contained within the report as quickly as possible.
“The Inspectors have identified similar issues as the College of Policing’s Peer Review, conducted in the force earlier this year.
“It is pleasing to see that HMIC grades the force as ‘good’ at ensuring our workforce behaves ethically and lawfully. This is a solid foundation we will build upon in future.”