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’. 

Following annual reviews of police effectiveness, efficiency, legitimacy and leadership (PEEL), Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has graded Dorset Police as ‘good’ overall at keeping people safe and reducing crime.

Reports published today, Tuesday 12 December, have been welcomed by the Force and the Police and Crime Commissioner. HMICFRS inspections into Dorset Police’s legitimacy and leadership, took place in May 2017. 

HMICFRS 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. As part of this year’s inspection, aspects of leadership were also included in the HMICFRS’s assessment of legitimacy as the two areas are considered to be closely linked. 

This report follows on from HMICFRS’s report on efficiency, published in November 2017, where Dorset Police was also given an overall grading as ‘good’. Findings will make up the HMICFRS annual assessment of police forces in England and Wales. Of the 43 police forces graded, 35 were assessed as ‘good’, one as ‘outstanding’ and six as ‘require improvement.’

Deputy Chief Constable (DCC) James Vaughan said: “I am pleased that HMICFRS 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 our local communities safe.

“We are dedicated to providing a good service to the residents of Dorset, whilst consistently operating with fairness and respect, and we have a strong commitment to equality and diversity, both within our organisation and in the service we provide.”

The report recognised Dorset Police’s dedication to treating the people it serves with fairness and respect, with officers and staff well trained in how to communicate effectively and use their coercive powers fairly, and only when necessary. 

Dorset Police was found to be good at ensuring its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully, with an established process for referring ethical problems. The Force was also noted for its efforts in making it easy for members of the public to make a complaint, and is good at keeping people updated on the progress of their complaint. 

The report also acknowledged that Dorset Police is experiencing some resourcing pressures which can affect the wellbeing of some officers and staff. 

DCC James Vaughan continued: “Funding to the police service has been significantly reduced since 2011 and at a time where crime is changing and becoming more complex to investigate. We understand the pressures and demands our staff are under. The positive wellbeing of all of our officers and staff is a priority and we are continuing to invest time and effort in promoting its importance in the workplace, as well as providing internal access to support and advice.”

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, Martyn Underhill, said: “I welcome the news that the Force has been recognised as ‘good’ in this area. In line with our British policing model, it is vital that the Force has the consent of the public and upholds the highest standard of fairness, legality and ethical behaviour. 

“HMICFRS inspection reports provide an opportunity to reflect on the areas of business that Dorset Police do well, to learn from good practice and ensure that it is shared across the organisation. They also identify areas which may require additional attention and I am committed to working with the Force to ensure that it maintains its status as a legitimate organisation that holds the trust of officers, staff and the public it serves.”

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