HMIC has published the Legitimacy report of its annual PEEL inspection process.
The inspection found that forces are good at treating most people fairly and reinforcing high standards of behaviour.
HMIC graded two forces as outstanding, 36 forces as good and five as requiring improvement. None were graded as inadequate.
However it highlighted that police leaders need to do much more to tackle the abuse of authority for sexual gain.
Areas in which improvements are recommended include:
Responding to the report, Association President Chief Superintendent Gavin Thomas said:
“I am pleased that HMIC recognises the high levels of public confidence in policing and how hard forces work every day to maintain this. This is also reflected in the assessment that forces treat the public with fairness and respect. These qualities are the bedrock on which policing is built.
“There are many areas of progress in this report and some excellent results such as very high levels of satisfaction among victims of crime for the service they have received from the police.
“However, some issues that have been raised in other inspections continue to persist, such as consistency. The wellbeing of officers is an example of this, where the report has identified that support across forces varies hugely. This is extremely important to the Association and is something we will continue to call on forces to improve. People are policing’s biggest asset and it must look after them, as without them there is no service.
“We must also keep focusing on our relationships with hard to reach groups and communities, as no-one should feel unable to come to us for help.
“But by far the most concerning aspect is the abuse of authority for sexual gain, an absolutely intolerable form of corruption. This is gross misconduct and is exactly the sort of abuse of the privilege of being a police officer the IPCC should be pursuing.
“How the service addresses this and roots it out goes to the very heart of our legitimacy. The overwhelming majority of police officers and staff are honest and trustworthy and do not want to see corrupt officers serving. Complacency allows corruption to flourish and so the service should be investing in its capability to deal with this and other forms of corrupt behaviour by using its very best people.
“The report also highlights issues about vetting and I would like to see this addressed in a consistent way as it is integral to how we tackle corruption.”
The full report can be viewed here.
HMIC’s inspection of police leadership has also been published. Forces are not graded in this report. It found many forces are demonstrating that they expect and display good leadership, and have a range of programmes in place to develop their current and future leaders.
HMIC has recommended that forces can improve in the following areas:
The full report is available here.