PEEL: Police Legitimacy 2017

12 December 2017

The majority of forces are considered ‘good’ in how they act in a fair and respectful way towards their communities, according to the latest Legitimacy Report, published today by her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue (HMICFRS).

The latest report rates 36 of the 43 police forces in this way, reflecting the high confidence which the public have in their police service.

However there remains some criticism over the numbers of black people who are stopped and searched.

Reacting to the criticism of stop and search, PFEW lead Simon Kempton said it remained “an essential tool” for operational policing. “It disrupts and detects criminal activity such as knife crime and the proliferation of Class A drugs. It is a tactic has been firmly under the spotlight for many years but we police with public consent so it is right and proper that we are able to account for our use of the power for which effective measures are in place.

“Equally as important is the need to change how we communicate why we use stop and search with both the public and importantly, with those we actually search. We know when we do this public support increases alongside officer confidence. Good news for the public, bad news for the criminal.”

The continued rollout of Body Worn Video reinforces the improved transparency in the use of police powers. “It is important that we bring the public with us and better explain why we use these powers in order to keep them safe,” continued Mr Kempton. “The public has a right to know that their police service is highly trained, ethical and only use stop and search legitimately to protect the vast majority of our society from those who would do them harm.”

While Kent was the only one of the 43 forces to have been graded as outstanding, 35 were considered ‘good’ and 6 as ‘requiring improvement.’

Police legitimacy is a key annual inspection by HMICFRS and part of the PEEL reports. It asks:

  • To what extent do forces treat all the people they serve with fairness and respect?
  • To what extent do forces ensure their workforces behave ethically and lawfully?
  • How well do forces ensure that their forces treat workers with fairness and respect?

According to the report led by HMI Mike Cunningham, which returned similar results to those in 2016, police work hard to support and improve the trust and confidence of the public but they risk damaging those relationships with local communities by being unable to demonstrate a fair use of stop and search.

He said: “The extent to which police forces act in a fair and respectful way towards the communities they serve has a vital influence on public trust and confidence.”

The reports can be found on the HMICFRS website.