Leicestershire’s independent police ethics panel has contributed suggestions to the Force’s internal promotion system to improve transparency and accountability.
At a recent meeting, members of Leicestershire Police and Crime Commissioner Lord Willy Bach’s Ethics, Integrity and Complaints Committee discussed a new report detailing how talent is identified within the Force and the processes for internal promotion.
The committee heard how promotion arrangements are reviewed regularly and feedback is obtained from all those involved in the process to improve the system further and ensure its fairness and transparency.
Members felt that the arrangements were not clear enough on how talent was identified and felt that external independent representation should be available on all interview panels, not just for the promotion of Inspector to Chief Inspector. The committee were also keen to know more about how officers from a range of minority groups such as those from BME communities, women, LGBT+, and disabled officers fared in the talent spotting and promotion processes.
The recent HMIC report regarding senior appointments was also considered.
Reassurance was provided that all Chief Officer appointments required officers to attend the national three-day assessment that is independently assessed. Once successful the candidate attends a national strategic command course, which is also independently assessed, after which they are eligible to apply for senior positions in individual force areas. The DCC gave an example of his appointment which involved a three-stage process which included a community and partnership panel, a presentation and interview involving an external observer from the College of Policing.
The Committee felt that it was positive that the force is using external independent observers for senior promotion selection but advised that it should seek to build external representation in the interview process across all promotion processes.
Leicestershire’s Deputy Chief Constable Rob Nixon told the committee a refreshed approach to talent management is currently being developed and the aim is to roll it out by March 2020. He added that better reporting would be included in considerations for the new strategy.
Also during the meeting, the panel was asked to respond to an ethical dilemma focused on a 13-year-old girl who had sent an indecent photograph of herself to a 45-year-old man purporting to be 13. Under crime recording standards, the man had committed an offence of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity while the girl had technically committed an offence of distributing an indecent image of a child. Both offences must be recorded.
Following discussion, panel members agreed that criminalising victims under Home Office Counting Rules was unnecessary and counterproductive to their recovery and was likely to exacerbate their problems.
Commenting after the meeting, Willy Bach said: “This meeting raised some pertinent issues, particularly around the processes by which officers are promoted to senior positions. I am very grateful for the panel’s evaluations and suggestions.
“We will be providing feedback to the Force on these discussions to identify any areas where our systems can be improved in the future.”
The panel also elected a new chair, Karen Chouhan, who will serve for the next four years, while Lynne Richards was selected as Deputy Chair.
Karen Chouhan is an Equality Lead, Race Policy specialist for the National Education Union. She has previously taught in Higher Education, Further Education and Adult Education and is a governor at North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College.
Lynne has more than 20 years’ experience in the private, public and charity sectors and most recently spent eight years as Head of Fundraising at the National Forest Company, where she worked to support The National Forest – a new forest being created across 200 square miles of North West Leicestershire, South Derbyshire and Staffordshire.
The Ethics, Integrity and Complaints Committee was set up to provide greater accountability to the public of policing processes including the complaints system and hold the Force to account for its decisions.
During the meeting, members agreed their forward work plan, agreeing to incorporate areas of hate crime, modern day slavery, human trafficking and the work of the Violence Reduction Network.
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Posted on Monday 30th September 2019