I intend to work with the Chief Constable, focusing on supporting the representative workforce programme, providing suitable equipment and technology, developing leadership capability to embed a positive culture and to reform how complaints are handled.
As part of implementing its Equality Action Plan, the Constabulary has developed a five-year strategy to improve recruitment, retention and progression of communities currently under-represented in its workforce. The Constabulary recognise the need to give particular focus to ethnicity because this is an area where they are particularly under-represented, while not diminishing opportunities for other under-represented groups.
“We will know we are successful when we see an increase in the number of successful applicants from diverse communities; our workforce reflects our diverse communities; and when our culture supports and encourages a more diverse and more highly engaged workforce” – Chief Inspector Norman Pascal, leading the work on achieving a representative workforce
The Constabulary needs to ensure its workforce has the right knowledge, skills and behaviours to prevent crime, support victims, and enforce the law. For example, it needs to expand its capabilities in relation to responding, investigating, and preventing cybercrime. These capabilities relate both to knowledge, skills and equipment.
In the latest Constabulary staff survey, over half the respondents indicated they felt they did not have the resources and tools that enabled them to perform their role well.
On joining Avon and Somerset Constabulary, the Chief Constable placed addressing this issue among his top priorities, indicating he was committed to equipping people to do their job by mobilising and digitalising the ways people work.
A new software tool has been developed to give a real time picture of pressures on requests for service. This is supporting the police to improve their responsiveness and to balance investigative workloads.
The Constabulary invested in a new IT system in 2015 that replaced two separate systems. This has offered opportunities to improve data management and analysis of information. This was delivered as part of a wider digital policing programme which will also equip officers with body worn video (BWV) cameras and officers and staff with mobile devices.
The BWVs will support enforcement activity through the capture of evidence in relation to the Police and Crime Plan priorities. By the start of 2017, all frontline police officers and staff will be equipped to carry BWVs. Footage will form part of the judicial process and should improve the service for vulnerable victims as they will capture evidence that can act as first-hand accounts of what has happened.
The mobile devices will reduce the pressure on the 101 service as officers can provide local people with their contact details where appropriate. In the longer-term, apps will be developed on devices to enable easy keying of information which will increase visibility of officers as it will extend patrol time, reducing reliance on returning to a station to work on a computer.
Legitimacy is a core part of the annual HMIC inspections of the Constabulary. The inspection looks at whether the force consistently behaves in a way that is fair, reasonable, effective and lawful, and if they have the consent of the local people.
“Policing must be done by consent and the Constabulary are more likely to have this when they treat people well. Having the right culture is key” Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens
The Constabulary will recruit and train its staff and officers with the aim that all victims, witnesses, suspects and detainees will be treated fairly and respectfully. The Independent Custody Visitor scheme exists to ensure detainees in custody are held in safe and appropriate conditions in accordance with their rights.
The Chief Constable has set out his ambition to review and improve leadership within Avon and Somerset Police. Delivery of this ambition will result in:
The Constabulary will follow recommendations from HMIC inspections on crime data integrity in order to deliver continued improvements in compliance with the Home Office Counting Rules and National Crime Recording Standard. The Constabulary has made concerted efforts in improving its crime recording performance since 2014. This has led to improvements in recording accuracy and timeliness in all areas, but there is still work to be done.
I will focus on improving how we coordinate and handle complaints and contacts from local residents. Proactive customer-focused handling of correspondence is critical and the Chief Constable and I are committed to getting this right. New processes will be implemented to deal with complaints in a more customer-focussed and proactive way, while remaining legally and ethically compliant. An opportunity has been identified to gain insight from introducing a systematic analysis of complaints and this will be explored.