When news happens get involved. Send your pictures, views and video to us by text and email
Dorset Police make improvements into how it manages its relationships with media
DORSET Police has made improvements into how it manages its relationships with the media and others, a new report has found.
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has published a follow-up report assessing the way the force manages integ-rity issues.
It follows a check in 2011 of all forces following a directive from the Home Secretary to look at “instances of undue influence, inappropriate contractual arrange-ments and other abuses of power in police relationships with the media and other parties.”
While the resulting report, Without Fear or Favour, found no evidence that corruption was endemic in police service relationships, it did not issue a clean bill of health.
HMIC was concerned that few forces provided any policy or guidance in relation to social media, and what second jobs are suitable for officers and staff. The report made several recommendations.
- In the latest follow-up to track progress, HMIC found with regard to Dorset Police:
- Since 2011 Dorset Police has conducted an integrity ‘health check’
- Several policies (covering relationships with the media, acceptance of gifts and hospitality, social media use and police officers having second jobs) have been updated and communicated to staff, or are being reviewed
- Between September 2011 and May 2012 the force investigated one instance of inappropriate disclosure to the media
- The force has reviewed its guidance on how police officers and staff should behave on social networking sites
- HMIC’s research identified two cases of potentially inappropriate behaviour on Facebook or Twitter by officers and staff, both of which have been referred back to the force
- Dorset Police’s procedure for approving business interests and second jobs requires staff to submit an application, checked by a supervisor and then forwarded for approval
- Since September 2011 there have been 49 applications for second jobs, 47 of which have been approved
Data shows that there has been an increase in staff working in the anti-corruption unit HM Inspector of Constabulary for the Wales and Western Region Dru Sharpling said: “Dorset Police has made some improvements to how it identifies, monitors and manages integrity issues.
“This reflects our findings across the whole of England and Wales. We found that the police service is making progress but we are concerned that overall, changes have not been implemented at a quicker pace.
“HMIC will therefore continue to monitor and inspect progress.”
Deputy Chief Constable of Dorset Police Adrian Whiting said: “We are pleased that HMIC has viewed the force’s ongoing work positively, although it must be stressed that we will not become complacent.
“As acknowledged by the report, we have made several changes within the last year. These include improvements to our register of gifts and hospitality – which now records refusals of hospitality – and continued work to ensure that we better identify business interests, second jobs and links with suppliers or potential suppliers.
“Furthermore, the force has also reviewed its guidance to staff regarding the use of social media sites.
“Integrity is a key value for Dorset Police and we will continue to build upon this work.”
Chairman of Dorset Police Federation Clive Chamberlain added: “The report is encouraging but there’s no room for complacency. It’s really important the public have confidence in the integrity of police officers and staff.”