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Force welcomes HMIC PEEL Legitimacy report

Dorset Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner have welcomed a report which has concluded that the Force’s approach to treating people fairly is ‘good’.

The report forms part of HM Inspectorate of Constabulary’s Police Effectiveness, Efficiency and Legitimacy, or PEEL, inspections. It assessed the culture within Dorset Police, as well as public engagement, use of Tasers and compliance with the Best Use of Stop and Search Scheme.

The Inspectorate found that there was a recognised ethical culture and an inclusive workforce within the Force. It also acknowledged that Dorset Police had successfully made officers and staff aware of the need for ethical behaviour, embracing the national policing Code of Ethics. The report also stated that officers and staff engage well, fairly and without bias with Dorset’s communities.

Dorset Police Deputy Chief Constable, James Vaughan, said: “We very much welcome the HMIC’s good grading and I am pleased that our efforts are being viewed positively.

“I am proud to work alongside officers and staff who are dedicated to serving the public. We also receive outstanding support from a large number of volunteers, in a wide range of policing activities, which is a very valuable way of engaging closely with our communities.

“The Force is always keen to listen to public concerns and with our engagement campaign, ‘Your Dorset, Your Police, Your View’, we continue to offer our communities the chance to get personally involved in shaping Dorset Police’s priorities for the future.”

The HMIC report noted that Dorset Police looks after the wellbeing of its officers and staff, investing in a range of effective occupational health services. Members of the Force generally feel empowered to challenge unethical and unprofessional behaviour and allegations against officers and staff are dealt with fairly and consistently, the Inspectorate concluded.

The report also concentrated on the use of Taser, recognising that this is tactic is used fairly and appropriately. This assessment reinforces the findings of an earlier independent review, and subsequent report, about the use of force in Dorset Police, which had been commissioned and published by the Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner last year.

Another high profile tactic at police disposal is stop and search. DCC Vaughan continued: “We are pleased that the HMIC found Dorset Police is complying with almost all of the features in the Best Use of Stop and Search scheme. However, we are not complacent and will certainly look at the recommendations, striving to improve our working practices further.”

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, Martyn Underhill, also welcomed the HMIC’s gradings. He stated: “The areas covered in this report are at the very heart of policing by consent. When the police use force or invoke the power to stop and search, their actions must be proportionate and transparent. I have done a lot of work locally and nationally in this arena, and I am pleased that Dorset officers have been recognised for their consistent good practice.

“I am currently working nationally with the Home Office and others to introduce a standard approach across all forces in relation to the use of force, and the way that force is recorded. This will increase transparency and scrutiny in a crucial area of public concern. I am also pleased about the findings in relation the wellbeing of officers and staff – this is a key area for myself and the Chief Constable. Policing is a traumatic arena, and we must invest in looking after our staff.”