Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has carried out its annual assessment into police legitimacy – to ensure powers are used fairly and people are treated with respect.
The assessment also looked at how well the Force ensures its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully, and to what extent it treats employees with fairness and respect.
Northumbria Police received an overall rating of good with a number of practices considered outstanding.
The inspection found:
The Force has a clear vision of the values it expects from its officers and staff;
The Force has outstanding processes in place for external scrutiny of a range of policing activities;
There are excellent systems for recording complaints and the Force conducts high-quality investigations;
The Force is outstanding in its wellbeing provision for its staff;
Leaders in Northumbria Police operate a culture of openness which encourages feedback from all staff who are confident they will be listened to.
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Dame Vera Baird QC, said: "Since being elected, improving confidence in policing has been one of my Police and Crime Plan priorities and the way we treat people on a daily basis has a major role to play in this. That is why I am pleased that this latest independent inspection reinforces that Northumbria are committed to treating the communities we serve with fairness and respect.
"I am pleased the report highlights the excellent systems we have in place for recording and dealing with complaints. This comes after we introduced a Complaints Charter to improve the process and increase satisfaction with how complaints are managed. Our dedicated Complaints Triage team approach has been recognised by the Home Office not only as good practice, but as so impressive that it has been put into legislation. The team resolves many complaints within 24 hours.
"The few areas that have been identified for improvement have been discussed with the Temporary Chief Constable and I will monitor his action plan that targets these areas. Despite the financial challenges we continue to face, we remain focused on delivering the police and crime plan as set out by local residents."
Temporary Chief Constable of Northumbria Police, Winton Keenen, said: "I welcome this report, which shows our communities they can be confident we will treat them with the fairness and respect they deserve.
"The inspection report recognises and reinforces the culture that exists within Northumbria Police as being one which promotes the values we must all expect from everyone employed by us. It is a testament to the hard work and dedication of everyone associated with the Force, so many of whom can be relied upon to go the extra mile on a daily basis.
"We are not complacent and realise we do sometimes get things wrong. That is why I am pleased the report recognises we have a robust system in place to manage and learn from our mistakes. We appreciate there are still areas where we can and will improve and I am determined to ensure the Force continues to move forward to provide the very best service to all of the communities we serve."
The inspection made only two recommendations for improvement. These were around ensuring effective systems are in place to manage performance and development, and publishing up-to-date information on gifts, hospitality and business interests.
Steps have already been taken to address both. Records surrounding gifts have always been maintained internally and systems are now in place to publish them online in a timely manner. Improvements have also been made to the Force’s internal development processes, which in turn strengthens the Proud to Protect culture.
In addition, the report states some work is required around stop and search powers, but recognises measures are already in place to address this. Furthermore, all officers have recently completed up-to-date training in this area.