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HMIC finds Dorset Police to be a ‘good’ force

07 December 2016
Following annual reviews of police effectiveness, efficiency, legitimacy and leadership (PEEL), Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has graded Dorset Police as ‘good’ overall at keeping people safe and reducing crime.

Reports published today, Thursday 8 December, have been welcomed by the Force and the Acting Police and Crime Commissioner. HMIC inspections into Dorset Police’s legitimacy and leadership, which took place between March and June 2016, have not identified any causes of concern and no specific recommendations have been made. 

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.

These reports follow on from HMIC’s report on efficiency, published in November 2016, where Dorset Police was also given an overall grading as ‘good’. Findings will make up the HMIC annual assessment of police forces in England and Wales. 

Of the 43 police forces graded, 36 were assessed as ‘good’, two as ‘outstanding’ and five as ‘require improvement.’

Deputy Chief Constable James Vaughan said: “I am pleased that HMIC has assessed Dorset Police’s legitimacy as ‘good’. Policing by consent is vital to ensure that we continue to be effective and efficient in keeping all of our local communities safe. 

“Whilst funding to the police services has been significantly reduced since 2011, we remain committed to providing a good service to the residents of Dorset, consistently operating with fairness and respect.”

The report recognised Dorset Police’s strong commitment to collaboration, both through the Strategic Alliance with Devon & Cornwall Police and through local partnership working.

Dorset Police was found to demonstrate a willingness to learn from others and take advantage of opportunities to share good practice. This helps to promote a culture of innovation, facilitates resource planning and supports talent management. 

The Force’s understanding of diversity was also found to extend beyond known characteristics - such as age, disability or gender - to recognise how individual diversity in experience and skills strengthens teams and improves leadership.

HMIC noted that progress is being made to improve the level and quality of engagement between the police and local communities through the implementation of the Force’s 2015 Project Genesis findings. The report encourages Dorset Police to continue to use its community engagement processes more effectively to find new ways to obtain specific feedback from the public.

DCC Vaughan continued: “We welcome the positive assessment of the Force’s commitment to ethical behaviour. We value challenge and feedback from the communities we police so that we can perform well now and in the future. 

“Efforts will be made to make leadership even more visible throughout Dorset Police, in order to reinforce our principles of fairness and respect, and to continuously improve the service we provide.”

HM Inspector of Constabulary Wendy Williams said: “I have judged Dorset Police as 'good' following our inspection into its legitimacy. Last year we also judged it as 'good'. The force uses different methods to identify the issues that are important to the public. It is also working to obtain views from communities who might not have confidence in the police, or who want to engage with the force in different ways.

"The Force is committed to ensuring its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully. It bases its integrity-related investigations on intelligence; however we found that the capacity within its anti-corruption unit appears limited. It engages with the public and its workforce about the outcomes of misconduct and corruption cases and takes steps to understand and identify risks to the integrity of its workforce. The Force places a strong emphasis on the seriousness of sexual misconduct and the abuse of authority by the workforce. It is working with representatives of vulnerable groups to identify and target predatory behaviour.

"I was impressed with the commitment Dorset Police has shown to ensure the wellbeing of its workforce. In particular, it has taken positive steps to identify and provide support for mental health concerns, which were found to be the highest cause of absence in the force. It also conducts mandatory heath screening for certain roles."

Acting Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, Colin Pipe, said: “HMIC’s grading of ‘good’ for legitimacy and leadership is welcome news, continuing the ‘good’ rating the Force also received last year. 

“The Commissioner is passionate about consistently improving the service offered to residents and this is only possible through strong leadership and community engagement. It is positive to see the Inspectorate recognise Dorset Police for their efforts in this area.” 

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