The standard of leadership of Suffolk and Norfolk Police Forces has been praised in the latest report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies (HMIC) published yesterday.
Both have been commended for working together and with ‘academic partners’ to evaluate the effectiveness of their work practices, though both are also criticised for inconsistent assessment of staff abilities and the number and poor targeting of their internal announcement emails.
The inspectors’ report says: “The leadership of Suffolk Constabulary’s chief officer team has made a positive difference despite undergoing significant change over the past 12 months.
“The team has provided a clear and developing sense of the constabulary’s future plans and priorities and promotes a culture of cohesion, honesty and openness.
“The constabulary has set out clear expectations of its staff which are understood across the organisation and has taken some positive steps to develop talent.”
It says the force is undergoing ‘much change’ in the way it assesses staff skills and says its leaders know what is expected of them thanks to good communication from the chief officers.
Though the force has recently changed its focus, the inspectors say it has communicated this well to its employees.
But it continues: “Suffolk Constabulary manages workforce performance inconsistently.
“The constabulary assesses an individual’s performance through an annual performance review, however the completion of an effective and meaningful review appears dependent on the individual’s line manager.”
Suffolk Chief Constable Gareth Wilson said: “I am extremely pleased that inspectors have recognised the absolute commitment that our senior leaders have towards providing clear and positive direction for our workforce.
“Listening to our staff and developing our leaders is crucial in helping us shape the future of the Constabulary. We have a fantastic workforce who are proud to a deliver high quality policing every day, and part of this work stems from the team ethos within the organisation, enabled by effective leadership.
“Our overall positive grading throughout the inspections is a reflection of the hard work across the organisation to provide the best possible service to our communities.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said: “This is a thoroughly fair assessment of the Constabulary’s effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy and I congratulate Gareth and his team on this very positive report.”
HMIC says Norfolk Police are well led and benefit from stability at chief officer level.
It adds: “The constabulary has communicated a clear sense of its future direction which is well-understood and supported by the workforce. The chief officer team is visible and engages regularly with frontline officers and staff.
“Norfolk Constabulary understands broadly the current state of its leadership across the organisation. It has recently sought to analyse the capacity and capability at sergeant rank via a consultation programme called the Big Listen, which was designed to coincide with the College of Policing’s leadership review.”
On the force’s make up it says: “We found a strong local background to many of the senior leaders in the constabulary which helps them feel confident about what kind of service the local community wants; this is viewed positively by the workforce.
“There are a greater proportion of female officers at or above superintendent rank compared to the national average, although staff and officers from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds remain significantly under-represented.”
The report adds: “Norfolk Constabulary could do more to effectively manage the contribution of its workforce by improving its personal development and talent identification programmes.
“Although the constabulary has an annual performance review system, it is not used consistently to set expectations of officers and staff and to monitor performance.”
Norfolk Chief Constable Simon Bailey said: “Strong and effective leadership is vital in making sure we deliver a police service the people of Norfolk deserve.
“I couldn’t expect my officers and staff on the frontline and behind the scenes to deliver the outstanding service they do without reflecting this in how chief and senior officers operate.
“There is a strong ethos among members of the organisation who are exceptionally proud of what they do; this culture is enhanced by effective leaders and it’s pleasing this has been acknowledged by inspectors, making me believe we are on the right track.”