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Cumbria Constabulary judged ‘good’ at legitimately keeping people safe and reducing crime

penrith police[H]er Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has assessed how legitimate Cumbria Constabulary is at keeping people safe and reducing crime. This is the
second year running HMIC has carried out inspections of this kind, which makes up part of HMIC’s annual PEEL inspections.

HMIC considers a police 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.

To assess this, HMIC has inspected how well forces treat the people they serve; ensure their workforce acts ethically and lawfully; and treat their workforces with fairness and respect. The findings of this inspection are included in a report, published today.

This inspection also included, for the first time, an assessment of how well forces tackle the problem of abuse of authority for sexual gain by members of its workforce.

This serious form of corruption betrays the trust of the public and, while we identified some examples of good practice there remain significant areas where forces must
improve. The service needs to be more proactive in seeking out and preventing this form of corruption, and referring cases of abuse of authority to the IPCC.

HMIC found that Cumbria Constabulary:

  • has a good approach to treating the people it serves with fairness and respect;
  • has a good in approach to ensuring its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully; and
  • needs to improve how it assesses individual staff performance.

HM Inspector of Constabulary Mike Cunningham said: “Following our inspection, I have judged Cumbria Constabulary as ‘good’ at how legitimately it keeps people safe and reduces crime. The constabulary investigates complaints from the public thoroughly. There is a system in place to analyse trends and to promptly address problems concerning individual officers who are the subject of repeated complaints.

“I am pleased to find that all staff have a good awareness of the high standards of behaviour and integrity required of them, and regularly receive updates and reminders on what is expected. There are good arrangements in place in the professional standards department to receive, assess and manage intelligence in relation to potential wrongdoing and corruption from across the constabulary. The constabulary also recognises the abuse of authority for sexual gain as serious corruption.

“I am pleased that the force has implemented a new workforce wellbeing strategy, however it is too early to tell what impact this will have on staff. The force also needs to improve its approach to staff performance appraisal.”

Peter McCall
Peter McCall

Responding to the Legitimacy Report, Cumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner Peter McCall said: “I am delighted to receive this report by HMIC, and the fact that Cumbria Constabulary has been adjudged as ‘good’ overall, and did not identify any causes of concern. I believe that this recognises quite rightly the hard work and commitment demonstrated by Police Officers, PCSOs and police staff doing a difficult job to keep us safe.

“The Inspection determined that Cumbria Constabulary has a good approach to treating the people it serves with fairness and respect, and to ensuring its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully. That said, the Inspection found that the force does need to improve how it assesses individual staff performance, and this is an area that is currently being developed.

“As far as Cumbria Constabulary’s leadership effectiveness, HMIC does not assign an overall rating, but their Report recognised that the Force has a good understanding of leadership and has clear expectations of its leaders. There is some scope for development in certain areas, such as the performance management system which his not fully in place yet. This will help the Force better understand the skills and potential of all its officers and staff, and be in a stronger position to identify potential senior leaders.

“Overall I am pleased with the findings, but am not complacent. I will continue to hold the Constabulary to account in all areas of their performance at my regular meetings. HMIC confirms that Cumbria Police do an excellent job keeping us safe and I wish to publicly congratulate the Chief Constable, our police officers, PCSOs and staff on this well-deserved report.”

DCC Michelle Skeer
DCC Michelle Skeer

Deputy Chief Constable Michelle Skeer said: “Today’s leadership report is very positive of the work being undertaken at all levels of the force.

“HMIC recognises the leadership from the top of the organisation is understood by officers and staff and chief officers listen and respond well to feedback, with changes being made as a result of such feedback.

“The report also reflects the strong emphasis on developing the workforce through line supervisors and the on-going efforts to recruit and retain police staff and officers and develop future talent.

“The report highlights developing a diverse leadership team, potentially through external recruitment as a future goal. However, the inspection also references an open recruitment process being used for the most recent senior appointment at chief officer rank and an assistant chief constable being recruited from outside the constabulary

“Overall, the report reflects well on the Constabulary and shows the force is well-led, is listening to its workforce and responding positively to suggestions.”

HMIC has also published individual assessments of the leadership within each police force in England and Wales. This, along with the reports, is available on HMIC’s
website.

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