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DCC leads discussions on acceptable behaviour on team nights out

PEEL report praises Hampshire for promoting ethical culture

Hampshire and the Isle of Wight Contabulary has been praised by HMICFRS for its “ethical culture and environment” led from a senior level.

The deputy chief constable presents a quarterly ethics session called ‘draw the line’. Each session includes topics for discussion such as acceptable behaviour on team nights out.

There is training for leaders about abuse of position for a sexual purpose. This focuses on identifying where abuse of position for sexual purpose may be taking place and what leaders should do when they identify these concerns.

The force uses ‘confide in us’ – a confidential line for personnel to report concerns about colleagues’ behaviour. Between April 2021 and April 2022, it received 124 reports through this line.

The force uses a quarterly magazine to promote professional behaviour. Reputation Matters is produced by the force’s professional standards department (PSD). It is available to staff online or in a printed format. It has recently covered topics such as:

The Inspectorate said it was impressed with the approach the force takes to domestic abuse involving its own personnel as either perpetrator or victim. A panel of senior investigators oversees domestic abuse cases involving an officer or staff member. There is also a well-publicised support network and a dedicated independent domestic violence adviser available to support members of the workforce who are victims of domestic abuse

The force has put domestic abuse support teams in each investigation centre. When an offender is in custody, team members make sure that the victim of abuse receives the right updates and referrals to support organisations. They also consider and apply for any orders or notices, such as DVPNs, which help the victim have space from the perpetrator.

Officers based in each district are responsible for checking that the conditions of any orders are being complied with.

If a victim indicates that they don’t want to co-operate with the police investigation, a member of the domestic abuse support team will speak to them to find out why. HMICFRS were told that in some cases this intervention had changed the victim’s mind

Each policing area in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight has a high-harm team, which work intensively with persistent domestic abuse offenders through Project Foundation. The force selects subjects based on a risk score calculated using a range of factors, such as addiction, alcohol abuse and housing. It allocates those scoring above a certain threshold to one of the high-harm teams.

The force works with the subject initially through support, but if that fails, it uses targeted enforcement. It reviews activity in respect of each Project Foundation subject every 28 days to establish if there is still meaningful work it can do.

Repeat domestic abuse offenders who aren’t selected through this method are referred to a diversionary programme that that the force provides through the Hampton Trust.

The Inspectorate says that the force has one of the lowest amounts of funding per head of population in England and Wales, which influences the decisions leaders have to make about where to focus resources. It prioritises 999 calls over non-emergency calls, and it puts any staffing increases in place in units that deal with more complex and serious crimes.

HMICFRS found that because of this neighbourhood officers are often taken away from their core tasks. The force also uses them to respond to calls and carry out some crime investigations. This means that those officers are less visible in their areas and less able to find out what matters most to local communities and carry out preventative and problem-solving work.

The force aims to keep the level of abstraction below 10 per cent, but it accepts it hasn’t met this target, particularly during busy times of the year. Some officers interviewed by the Inspectorate estimated they were spending 50 per  cent of their time away from their neighbourhood policing roles.

The effect of this is a perception in neighbourhood teams that the force doesn’t value their work. Some neighbourhood staff  weren’t confident or motivated to carry out their roles, according to HMIC.

It has taken action to address its most high-risk problems, such as backlogs in assessing risk to vulnerable people. But the Inspecorate warns it now needs to satisfy itself that it is using all resources in the most effective way. “In particular, it needs to anticipate and guard against the unintended consequences of moving work from one area of the force to another,” it adds.

The force was rated good at recording data about crime, treatment of the public and developing a positive workplace. But preventing crime and responding to the public requires improvement according to HMICFRS,

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