Our commitment to inclusion, diversity and equality is resolute. Despite the challenges we have faced, and continue to face, we have a vision of a united approach between both forces. One which values our individuality, celebrates what makes us uniquely different yet inextricably connected, with respect and understanding for all.
Our response to diversity and inclusion is ever evolving. This revised strategy sets out our intention for creating sustainable and lasting change for our colleagues now and those yet to join us and also supports the delivery of Our Priorities.
The vision at Sussex Police is to have a workforce who understands why diversity, equality and inclusion are fundamental to improving trust, confidence and legitimacy in policing.
Focus on improving our culture of inclusion and increase awareness and understanding of diversity and equality, through the delivery of professional development awareness and training. Colleagues will have confidence to share their diversity data, particularly for non-visible differences, which will inform our processes and policies. Colleagues will be supported to challenge, overcome and reduce discriminatory behaviours or practices.
Understanding, engaging and increasing satisfaction and confidence across all communities and victims of crime. Engaging with our communities to understand their concerns, improving communication, accessibility and building trust and confidence to ensure all communities have a voice, and are more confident in reporting hate crime and incidents, and be kept informed at each stage.
Work transparently with communities to progress understanding of disproportionality in the use of police powers, and engage effectively to tackle the concern this raises in our communities.
Attract, recruit and retain a diverse workforce which is representative of the communities we serve, ensuring robust analysis of workforce data to identify areas of concern or disproportionality to inform organisational priority, delivery of positive action interventions and organisational training and development needs.
Independent advisors and reference groups
Sussex Police has a Strategic Independent Advisory Group, which meets on a regular basis to provide independent views and advice on the strategic development and delivery of our services. Across Sussex, each division has its own Independent Advisory Group, which enables understanding of the differing effects local policing can have on geographical communities. In addition to this, Sussex Police has a number External Reference Groups, specific to Equality Act protected characteristics, chaired by members of the community, to test challenge and inform Sussex police. Engaging directly with the public helps us develop and operate policies and practices that do not exclude, discriminate or have an unjustifiable adverse impact on any particular community.
Strategic Independent Advisory Group minutes
Title: Strategic Independent Advisory Group
Date: Monday 4 July 2022
Venue: Sussex Police Headquarters and MS Teams
IC welcomed the group and led round introductions.
Actions from the previous meeting:
Action 33 – Diversity and Inclusion Team to share VB's LGBT Domestic Abuse presentation slides with the group: Sent out with the minutes
Action 34 - Diversity and Inclusion Team to invite Ian Clarke to the next meeting to give an update on the support given to new members of staff who require coaching: JC (LP&PD) attending July meeting
Neighbourhood Policing – Patrol and Engagement Plans
PA highlighted Sussex Police force priorities to the group which are ‘Protect our communities, catch criminals and deliver an outstanding service’, all the work Sussex Police does links back to these priorities.
PA demonstrated The College of Policing’s Confidence Cycle, which demonstrates that it is the residents in local communities that witness most of the crime and not the police. PA highlighted the importance of critical friends in the community to provide local voices, local links, local knowledge, local influence, and local accountability, and informed the group about the Adur, Worthing and Horsham Independent Advisory Group Meeting which started in November 2020, and recently met face to face for the first time. In this meeting the group were provided with a list of Patrol Plans (a document that is owned by PCSOs which outlines the characteristics of the community by age, ethnicity, significant places of worship, schools, businesses etc) and were asked to pick 2 patrol plans for the next meeting. The PCSOs who owned the patrol plans attended the meeting to gain feedback from advisors on the plan, this provided the PCSOs with useful insight. PA invited the group to attend ride-along with neighbourhood officers and response officer on patrol. This helps further advisors’ understanding of the patrol plans as they will be able to see the plan in action. DCC informed the group of a new platform ‘Vis-A Vis – Sussex Alerts’. Sussex Police are broadening out the ability to communicate with people for feedback. This new platform allows the force to receive feedback and have a two-way conversation.
Advisors felt it would be useful for all the divisions to take the same approach in neighbourhood IAG meetings and be provided with their local patrol plans to gain further insight and knowledge.
Advisors felt not all community members would know how to contact the police and in some areas the presence of PCSOs and Local Wardens are not visible, and if the Police will be attending Parish Council meetings and if PCSOs or Local Wardens still exist in this area? PA informed the group that Local Wardens and the Parish Council and are still present in communities, working alongside the police.
Advisors were concerned that community members who do not use social media may miss out on understanding the work Sussex Police do, if the police only post their good work through social media. Advisors suggested this can be infiltrated through community groups and partnerships. PA highlighted the responsibility of PCSOs to understand as many different groups as possible that make up the community, so they can communicate with them in the most effective way possible.
Advisors informed the group of the charity ‘Wayfinder Women’ in Eastbourne who do a lot of work around safeguarding for women who may be subject to domestic abuse or stalking and request a Sussex Police representative to engage with the charity and provide them with a presentation on how women can best protect themselves and to build confidence in approaching the police.
Action 35: DCC to ensure Brighton and Hove and East Sussex have the same approach as West in sharing patrol plans with IAG members.
Action 36: PA to provide a speaker to attend Wayfinder Women and inform them on personal safety advice
Complaints and Ethical Dilemmas – Neurodiversity in misconduct cases
LB described an ethical dilemma around dealing with situations where a colleague has offended other colleagues, unintentionally and attributed to their neurodivergence.
LB provided a detailed overview of the scenario, and the interactions and dialogue between both parties, subsequent investigation and outcome.
Advisors questioned who the expert in Autism was that the force used for the examination. Advisors felt that depending on the examiner it can have quite a lot of bearing on what opinion or input is received.
Advisors felt that through coaching it can make Autistic people aware of what is and is not acceptable behaviour and can support them through challenges. This was acknowledged by the force and one of the outcomes available in a misconduct investigation is ‘reflective practice’.
Advisors felt their condition should not prevent them from being a fully effective police officer and that many senior police officers in the UK were on the autistic spectrum.
Advisors were concerned if the force were not already aware of the PC’s autism diagnosis, as this would be reactive rather than proactive - it was explained that for new recruits now there is a screening process which was further explained in item 4.
Overview of support given to new members of staff who require coaching (action 34)
JC highlighted that Sussex Police encourages all recruits to inform the force on whether they require support in training or to undertake their role (e.g., for dyslexia, autism or other physical or neurological conditions). JC recognises that historically new members of staff may not have disclosed this information, for concerns they would not be accepted into the job. JC informed advisors that all new police officers and PCSO’s are now pre-screened for dyslexia and other neurodivergent conditions, stating if there are indicators of neurodivergence they are then offered to take part in more rigorous screening to get an in-depth report of needed support. JC highlighted that this facility was not available 18 months ago and is a massive step forward in supporting staff at Sussex Police. Out of an intake of 58 new joiners last week, 15 individuals were identified as benefitting from additional support - which the force previously would not have been aware of.
JC described how the support team engages with new recruits to inform them on what assistance is available. The support team includes 7 people whose roles are a Learning Support Officer, a workplace Adjustment Coordinator, a Sergeant, and an Inspector.
JC also provided an overview of the new entry routes. Sussex Police work closely in conjunction with universities when recruiting police officers. New recruits will either come to the force with a degree or they are studying towards a degree. The force work with 4 partner universities who have very good student support structures within them. The universities are also used to supporting individuals who may need additional support, so they work with the force to ensure the support is there for them.
JC gave an overview of the process of bringing in a workplace adjustment passport. This ensures that those who require additional support do not feel they have to inform new line managers of how they would like to be supported. This is to encourage individuals to feel confident in support and adjustments they need to be the best they can possibly be in the workplace environment.
Advisors asked if Police Officers get paid whilst they are doing their degree? JC confirmed that they do get paid whilst they are learning and studying for their degree. Advisors also questioned whether officers who apply directly for a detective role will lose out on experience they would have had if they work their way up through community policing or response? JC informed the group that to directly apply for the Detective role individuals must do their first 30 weeks and get independent patrol as the PC and have attachment to neighbourhoods. Advisors enquired what the force are doing with sharing best practice with other forces with regards to training? JC informed the group that nationally Sussex Police are considered one of the top forces for the way the delivery of new entry routes and the associated support is provided. JC attends the National Neurodiversity Working Group, where best practices are shared through regular webinars and forums. Advisors asked if there are built in strategies to measure the success in terms of performance and retention as a result of the new installation of identification to support new recruits? JC expressed that attrition is closely monitored.
New officer intake: DCC welcomed 66 new officers last week into the force. The new recruits are a combination of those who are joining the apprenticeship 3-year degree program and also a number who already are degree holders. Of the new recruits, one third are female. DCC stated they would have liked to see more ethnic diversity within cohorts and the next intake will be September 2022.
Metropolitan Police Service: The MET Police are offering £5,000 for transferees from other forces. DCC expressed concern that as Sussex Police are close to London it is understood that there is a risk of losing officers.
Attrition rates: DCC informed the group that the attrition rates in Sussex Police are starting to reduce again, and the force are keeping a close eye on this. The force has changed the recruitment model to gain additional recruits.
National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) and HMICFRS: Sussex Police are due to be visited by colleagues from the NPCC in support of work they are carrying out as part of the Home Office’s initiative to explore homicide prevention. All forces were asked to consider ideas that may reduce homicide and Sussex’s “Habitual Knife Carrier Index” which looks to identify people who regularly carry knives (either with intent or for self-protection) has been considered by the NPCC as worthy of further exploration with a view to being adopted nationwide as best practice. DCC also noted that Sussex Police were currently undergoing a force inspection by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies & Fire Services (HMICFRS) which will be culminating in the autumn of 2022.
Publication of the super complaint that was made into police perpetrated domestic abuse: The Centre for Women’s Justice raised a concern that if someone who is within the police environment is accused of domestic abuse the outcome did not seem to be as robust as if it was a member of the public and were charged less. All forces looked at their own practices and processes. 2 years ago, Sussex Police looked at this area and have many factors in place, the force has a DA pledge to staff which includes a thorough transparent investigation, and that a senior officer is put in charge of cases where someone has been accused of domestic abuse. There is also a formal scrutiny panel where the outcome of the investigation is looked at with the CPS as well as support for any victims with an Independent Domestic Violence Advisor. DCC highlighted that the super complaint was a national complaint and in their findings Sussex Police was referenced for positive things the force is doing.
Race Action Plan: Sussex Police are launching a local race action plan, which compliments the national race action plan. This includes the ‘Parity Tracker’ which gives some defined metrics to see the action is making a difference, so the force can understand if the experiences of staff and the experience communities that the force police have improved.
Violence Against Women and Girls Regional Conference: Sussex and Surrey Police, Thames Valley, Hampshire and Dorset Police are attending a Violence Against Women and Girls Regional Conference on Thursday 7th and Friday 8th The conference is for internal staff to learn more about Violence Against Women and Girls, with different speakers. Sussex Police have the largest number of attendees joining the online conference.
Advisors were interested in Sussex Police’s domestic abuse policy and asked if this is available for the group to read? DCC confirmed this is shareable.
Action 37: DT to share Sussex Police’s Domestic Abuse Policy with the group
DCC informed the group that she will soon be retiring, and this would be her last meeting. Advisors thanked DCC for all the work she has done.
Advisors shared the Missing Persons Information Hub which was launched in May, this hold information around missing people and is back up by Police Forces, the NPCC, and Academia.
Advisors asked if Sussex Police have an update on achieving best evidence suites that was discussed at a previous meeting? DCC informed the group this is a longer-term project due to the amount of work required including finance, resourcing, and design so they currently do not have an update to provide. DCC informed the group that Sussex Police are hoping to sell the old police houses in order to fund a new victim and witness suite, the force have prepared for a bid for this to go forward and to be part of the formal change plan for next financial year.
Advisors asked what Sussex Police’s plans are for Brighton Pride? DT provided the group with an overview of the engagement plan of Brighton Pride. Sussex Police’s staff network will be participating in the parade with a number of other colleagues and also be at Preston Park in the community area.
Advisors were impressed with the work Sussex Police do for Violence Against Women and Girls but questioned what work is being done for Violence against Men and Boys? DCC informed the group that Sussex Police have a plan around serious violence that comes under the force Operation Safety. Sussex Police have received additional government funding to tackle serious violence and lifeline, the Police and Crime Commissioner campaigned hard to help facilitate the force having additional funding for this.
Advisors were concerned that there do not appear to be any refugees for men who are victims of domestic violence and questioned where they can go? It was confirmed that there is at least one male refuge in Sussex.
Action 38: DT to check where male victims of domestic abuse can receive support.
Date of next meeting: TBC
Digital strip search – victims of serious sexual assault
Safe Space APP
Visa V – Sussex Alerts
Title: Strategic Independent Advisory Group
Date: Thursday 7 April 1400 - 1600
Venue: MS Teams
Welcome and Actions from the previous meeting
Actions from the previous meeting:
SB to attend future meeting to provide Neighbourhood Policing – Patrol and Engagement Plans: SGT PA to presenting at the July meeting
DCC to get AW to contact DP to understand area concerns via DT: C/I AW met with DP on 9/02
JR to send DT rejection and success rates on Vetting: JC sent DT rejection and success rates – 27/01 completed and included in summary minutes
DT to contact TCG regarding gaining support and guidance for the support neurodiverse individuals receive when training in their roles: TCG met with L&PD lead (JCH) in February to discuss.
DCC to share attrition rates of officer numbers with the group: Update to be provided in DCC input April 2022
SR to get information around the detail of permissions for victims being filmed: DCC spoke to the producers from Blast! around the concerns raised by the SIAG about victims being filmed by TV crews. Blast! confirmed they do consider the impact of including a traumatic incident in their final production edit. For initial filming, they record a huge amount of footage and only use a small and carefully considered percentage in the final production - this includes an assessment for any reasons why they shouldn’t publish with the Police, and ensure pixilated faces (or not show the face) if the victim is under age or if the victim chooses that as an option. They will also change voices to protect someone’s identity. Whilst this doesn’t take away any additional trauma from the film crew turning up at the outset, it hopefully provides assurance of careful consideration and victim consent around what footage to include and how they present it.
LGBT Domestic Abuse
VB updated on initiative involving Sussex Police to investigate disproportionality of reporting for Domestic Abuse (DA)incidents involving LGBT+ people, reporting rates (4%) were much lower than demographic data would suggest (12%). This research led to funding via the Police & Crime Commissioner’s Office for partnership work alongside leading LGBTQ organizations within Sussex e.g., LGBT Switchboard to establish independent domestic violence advisors (IDVA) posts within their organisations. The primary aim was to support the safeguarding of victims at high risk of harm from domestic violence through the conduit of a trusted community partner, leading to opportunities for Sussex Police to engage with other agencies providing related support services. These included peer support groups such as the Trans, Non-Binary, and Intersex Survivors Project. The approach presented by Sussex Police has enabled Switchboard to hold the contract as lead partner and employ a full time IDVA role –providing a trusted and culturally competent support platform for LGBTQ people experiencing domestic violence or abuse, as well as facilitating a more holistic approach to support across Domestic Violence services, the police, and the wider VCS. The post holder works to build trust and confidence between LGBTQ communities and wider DA services, supporting mainstream services to raise inclusion standards for service users through improved data collection, training, targeted resources, and inclusive policies and practices.
JB informed the group that all the staff and volunteers at Switchboard are LGBTQ and all the services are designed with and for LGBTQ people in mind, which allows them to focus and tailor their service to only on the LGBTQ community and the specific difference within the community. JB highlighted that to build the effective service time and trust is essential from commissioners. JB provided an oversight on the recruitment process for engaging a team who fit the ‘by and for’ model. The team recruited are not necessarily domestic abuse experts but are people who had good appreciation of the communities that work alongside Switchboard and the issues that those communities might be encountering that would complicate an already very difficult domestic abuse situation. JB gave the example that an LGBT person might have specific concerns or issues with reporting domestic abuse because of the threat of outing somebody or sharing someone’s trans status as perpetrators can use it against them as a form of coercive control.
JB explained a comprehensive research process, utilizing data gathered from surveys and journey mapping the lived experience of DA survivors which was involved in designing and setting up the service so that it would be as effective and inclusive as possible and highlighted future development work which would see the service becoming embedded and publicised across Sussex.
Advisors questioned how people know where to get in touch? JB informed the group that most referrals have been direct self-referrals through Switchboards’ website where they fill out a form to receive contact back or they have directly called Switchboards’ office line to reach the helpline. JB informed the group that the organisation needs to work on how it is building awareness across Sussex in other organisations. VB informed the group that this service is aimed at victims who would never have called 999 and would rather live in fear and pain in a violent relationship than reach out.
Advisors felt it would be useful for front line officers or call handlers to be aware of Switchboard and offer it to victims if they see a domestic abuse instance where the victim does not want to report. Advisors suggested it would be useful for the wider community to be aware of the service such as fosters, family care and taxi drivers for them to offer the service to victims. LV informed the group that there will be promotion to the wider community of this service. JB expressed the importance of promoting the service both within LGBT spaces and circles but also in other places where the service can be seen and contacted.
Action 33: DT to share presentation slides with the group
Force Update – DCC
DCC introduced and met 75 new members of staff last week. These new staff members had their formal attestation in front of a magistrate, where they attest to serve the country and the queen. DCC highlighted the wide mix of different people, both from a diversity perspective, but also life experiences. As of 31st March there are 3006 police officers in Sussex.
DCC provided an insight into attrition rates of police officers leaving the force, the reasons why officers leave (retirement, transfers career change etc) and the ongoing challenge of maintaining current force levels over and above those demanded by Operation Uplift. DCC noted that the Covid pandemic has extenuated attrition rates as many officers who had stayed beyond retirement to assist with the Police response were now leaving the force, alongside those who were due for retirement. Another factor was a higher-than-expected number of student officers were also leaving without completing training due to the challenging nature of studying for the new degree while working as a Police Officer. DCC noted that many people were revaluating their lifestyles Post Covid and that high attrition rates were a problem which was affecting all police forces.
DCC provided an overview of recent recruitment adverts with an in-depth focus around Crawley which was carried out over a 6-day period to try and increase recruitment and diversity in the force. DCC expressed that the force will not be reducing the standards because it is important that applicants have the right skills and the right behaviours and values to join the force.
Gender pay gap statistics
DCC highlighted that nationally the UK median gender pay gap is 15.5%, Sussex Police’s is just under the national average at 15.3%. DCC noted that while pay rates for colleagues were the same for males and females working at the same grade or rank, she explained how disproportionality was measured - primarily as a disparity between men and women employed at senior levels of the organisation compared to colleagues employed on lower paid grades. Although this disparity appeared greater because there were more males in the organisation than females DCC recognised that more needs to be done to improve this, one of the ways the force is trying to do this is by employing more females and are aiming to be 50/50.
DCC informed the group that the last formal inspection was 2018/2019 and provided an overview of how the inspection works. Once the inspection takes place about 3-4 months later the report gets published into the public domain with a grading on a number of different areas on how the force have done, this ranges from outstanding to good. HMIC FRS have bought in a new grading for this level of inspection, which is adequate. Below that grading is requires improvement and inadequate.
Advisors expressed concerns that they do not see PSCO’s patrolling the streets and asked for the figures of attrition rates of student officers and PCSO’s. DCC informed the group that a lot of individuals use the PSCO role as a steppingstone into the organisation to become a police officer and felt disappointed to hear that advisors are not seeing PCSO’s in the community because that is their primary role but reassured the group that Sussex Police are constantly recruiting PSCO’s.
Advisors question how much coaching time an individual receives who is Neurodivergent, Autistic, has ADHD, Dyslexia or Dyspraxia. DCC informed the group that Sussex Police do not have a standard amount of coaching an individual receives but instead will assess each individual to see what bespoke support they need. Sussex Police have a Neurodivergent Working Group, which is led by the head of Learning and Development JC who works very closely with IC who is a lead in people services and is supported by Occupational Health and welfare. Sussex Police have recently introduced a ‘Workplace Adjustment Passport’, for new students, so that the force is able to understand every individual and what their needs are. This passport stays with the individual so when they change department within the organisation they do not need to start again and explain to new line managers any reasonable adjustments or additional support they may need.
Action 34: DT to invite IC to the next meeting to give an update on the support given to new members of staff who require coaching.
Violence against Women and Girls – AT
AT provided an overview of a National Policing initiative whose objective is to increase the safety of women and girls within our communities, acknowledging that so called ‘low-level’ sexism and practices promote a culture which ultimately manifests itself in violence against women and girls. This violence can take many forms, including child sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual offences, and domestic abuse.
AT informed the group that Violence against Women and Girls includes crimes that are disproportionately female victims. These crimes consist of female genital mutilation and cutting, honour-based violence, rape, stalking and domestic abuse. AT highlighted that this includes transwomen, nonbinary people and people that are gender fluid. It is recognised that men can be victims of some of these crimes and they will always be investigated.
AT described the current landscape of gender inequality in the UK & informed the group that in the top 50 FTSE companies, only 4% have a female CEO, which illustrates that there is still gender inequality in the UK.
AT stated that it was Sussex Police’s aim to promote a cultural change within the organisation and address gender imbalances in both officers and staff. AT cited Sussex Police as Leaders in the United Nations “He for She” movement the success of having a first time female Chief Constable and Deputy Chief Constable and more recent female recruits than men as examples that Sussex Police making progress In this area.
AT highlighted that Sussex Police are the only police force in the Times top 50 employees for women. Despite this, AT recognised that the force has a lot more to do and informed the group that in her new role she will be looking sexism and misogyny within the workplace.
AT described how Sussex Police are going to be focusing on improving investigations to get better criminal justice outcomes, by supporting survivors and targeting offenders. The force will also be looking at police powers in prevention orders, such as domestic abuse prevention orders and stalking orders. AT informed the group that Sussex Police want to adopt a trauma aware approach. Most frontline officers have been on adverse childhood experience and trauma informed training. Some initiatives include the Local Resolution Team which is a domestic abuse unit that is specifically trained and uses innovative techniques to reach people in domestic abuse situations that may not have been reached before. Sussex Police have also introduced a DA Stalking Perpetrator Programme, which was recently a runner up in a recent national award. This focuses on offender behaviour and is the first perpetrator intervention that is offered as part of a Stalking Protection Order, Sussex Police was the first police force ever to issue a Stalking Protection Order.
Advisors questioned if a female is stopped at night, by a police officer, if she can verify, they are a police officer on duty that is legitimately stopping them? AT informed the group that Sussex Police investigated this to see if there is a need to put something in place, but the findings were that this was not happening in Sussex.
Advisors questioned what the consequence is for not complying with a stalking order? AT informed the group that if someone does not comply with this order then they will be arrested.
Advisors question how the ‘Let’s talk’ series is going internally? AT informed the group that ‘Let’s talk about Gender Equality’ is being received well and is receiving a lot of thoughts and feedback. This feedback is sent to the Diversity Team to investigate which will be fed into the internal survey to make changes within the force.
Advisors share concerns around cycling and road safety issues in West Sussex and informed the group that through a conversation with the Chief there is a review going with Safer Sussex Road Partnership. Advisors questioned if this could be updated to the group at a future meeting? DDC informed the group that this review is happening and once completed a presentation can be brought to the group to discuss.
Date of next meeting: Monday 4 July 1400 - 1600
Title: Strategic Independent Advisory Group
Date: Wednesday 26 January 2022, 14:00 - 16:00
Venue: MS Teams
IC welcomed the group and led round introductions.
Neighbourhood Policing – Patrol and Engagement Plans
Feedback from Advisors:
Advisors shared their experiences of the way neighbourhood policing had changed over the years and were concerned that they no longer see Police Officers or PCSO’s patrolling locally. They asked whether Sussex police had a Local Policing Plan which could be presented to meeting advisors? DCC empathised with advisors concerns around feeling safe in their neighbourhoods and informed the group that community safety was one of Sussex Police’s key priorities. DCC also stated that the force now develops individualised neighbourhood plans rather than an all-encompassing strategy beyond the force priorities of Protect Communities, Catch Criminals and Deliver an Outstanding service to the Public, acknowledging that areas have different policing requirements. DT reminded the group of ‘StreetSafe’, which is an opportunity for residents to anonymously report locations near them where they may feel unsafe, or where Police, local authorities and others can work to make those places safer. This includes improvements such as street lighting, overgrown vegetation, and abandoned buildings.
Action 27: SB to attend future meeting to provide Neighbourhood Policing – Patrol and Engagement Plans
Action 28: DCC to get AW to contact DP to understand local area concerns via DT
Achieving Best Evidence
LVD provided the group with an update on how Sussex Police are seeking to transform police witness interview environments and experiences within Sussex. Currently the force has 4 witness interview rooms and 5 witness suites, 3 of these suites can be used for live link to court.
LVD described how the current facilities were not purpose built and suffer from a number of problems such as poor sound insulation and dated technology, which can have a detrimental impact on the interviewing process and the experience of users, especially where interviewees are neurodivergent or vulnerable in other ways. LDV described the strategy to improve these facilities including a survey that was conducted with registered intermediaries and social workers, (including members of the SIAG) itself and scoping work to explore facilities used by other police forces. LDV stated that a working group had now been convened to explore planning options for a bespoke interviewing facilities facility to create a space which is accessible, welcoming and meets the needs of all our witnesses.
Feedback from Advisors:
Advisors were concerned that the size of the camera in the interview suites is too large and felt this would put children and vulnerable people off. Advisors suggested a small discreet camera that could be hidden in photos/books or out of sight. LVD informed the group that this is something the force are looking at for the re-design and will looking at other forces’ camera locations and sizes. KL expressed that the communities in Sussex deserve a facility to enable them, at their most vulnerable, to be able to be in a comfortable and supporting environment for them to complete interviews. Advisors asked if older police property could be sold to buy/build a new facility for witness suites. DCC informed the group that Sussex Police’s ambition was to sell older police properties and build a purpose-built facility, however, there were still a number of factors which would have to be considered before any commitments could be made.
Advisors asked what would happen to the current interview rooms in police stations?
LVD and KL informed the group that the current interview rooms will be kept, additional rooms will be added and technology in these rooms will be improved. Funds raised via PPAF would also go towards the current interview rooms to make quick adaptations to meet the needs of victim including improving training for officers around the uses/purposes of sensory toys and distraction aids
Complaints and Ethical Dilemmas
JR raised the dilemma with advisors around applicants who had been unsuccessful at applying for a Police staff role based on vetting checks. JR asked advisors if they felt there were any alternative methods of assessing someone’s suitability for a role within the organisation rather than in some cases being based on previous interactions with the police? Should police vetting for example be more understanding of familial relationships or previous misdemeanours?
Feedback from Advisors:
Advisors questioned how many applicants are rejected on Vetting?
Last 12 months initial applications (new joiners):
Officer: 15 (3%)
Staff: 18 (4%)
4 x Failure to disclose required information
4 x Conviction history
5 x Adverse Intelligence
2 x failure to meet residency criteria
3 x Failure to disclose required information
2 x Conviction history
3 x Adverse Intelligence
3 x failure to meet residency criteria
5 x Adverse finance
1 x Open Source research
1 x Adverse PSD Traces
Officer: 13 – 3 upheld, 10 rejected.
Staff: 14 – 2 upheld, 12 rejected.
Advisors asked if there are many ‘grey’ areas within vetting process? JR noted that sometimes applicants have committed crimes many years prior to applying, noting that where someone might commit a crime as a teenager, then applies for a role at the age of 20 they may not have had much life experience and checkable history, in comparison to a 40 year old who in this time has held down a good job and had more chance to demonstrate their ‘good character’. JR stated being more flexible in our approach to vetting will also encourage a more diverse and representative work force. Advisors felt that if a person who had committed a crime had since gone through a process of reflection and acknowledged the harm they had caused, altering their behaviour subsequently, they should be given an opportunity to apply and be successful in future applications.
Advisors welcomed news that Sussex Police are recruiting more people with neurodivergent characteristics but questioned what support those individuals would be receiving, noting that training and coaching would need to be adapted in order for them to learn within an equitable environment? DCC described Sussex Police and Surrey Police’s joint Neurodiverse Working Group which is organised by the People Services & Learning and Professional Development Teams. This working group was exploring a number of related areas to improve the working experience of existing neurodivergent colleagues and newcomers.
Action 29: JC to send DT rejection and success rates on vetting – Completed and included
Action 30: DT to contact TCG in regards gaining support and guidance for the support neurodiverse individuals receive when training in their roles.
COVID-19 impact on Staff
Due to staff sickness with COVID and isolating there was pressure over the run up to Christmas, which is normally a busy period. However, the current members of staff isolating and sick with COVID is now reducing. Due to the change of restrictions the force is looking to bring staff, who have been working from home, back into the organisation in a measured way with agile working.
The government is into the third year of the uplift programme for policing with 20,000 officers. Sussex Police will gain 163 new officers this year through this programme. Sussex Police’s recruitment window closes midnight on 26 January 2022 where there have been 240 applicants for the apprenticeship route, where they will train for 3 years to be a police officer and gain a degree at the end and 156 applicants who already have a degree.
Feedback from Advisors:
Advisors questioned how many staff members the force lose through retirement, health reasons and a change of career path? DCC informed the group that through the People Services Team, Sussex Police have a good yearly predication of numbers which anticipate the number of staff loss through retirement and change of career paths, which is monitored each month. DCC did not have these numbers to hand but informed advisors this can be shared with the group.
Documentaries and TV Programmes
During 2021, Sussex Police received 12 requests from a number of TV production companies asking the organisation to take part in a range of programmes and documentaries. These requests are dealt with by the Media and Communications team who ascertain whether this is something the force would/should engage with. Sussex Police have agreed to be involved with 5 documentaries and programmes, including Stacey Dooley’s documentary ‘Stalkers’, a one-hour documentary on the ‘Brighton Cat Killer’ and a new version of ‘999 What’s your emergency’ for which filming took place in Brighton in December 2021. It involved a diverse mix of officers and staff some with hidden disabilities such as neuro divergent conditions.
Feedback from Advisors:
Advisors questioned what Sussex Police’s plans on social media are on awareness days and months? DT informed the group there are lots of key events that go on throughout the year which feature in the equality and diversity calendar, these are demonstrated in staff networks and advisory groups. DT also stated that Sussex Police run several internal awareness events such as webinars with guest speakers who share lived experiences. Advisors were concerned that vulnerable individuals may have distressing experiences filmed and broadcast for entertainment purposes and asked what safeguarding were in place or permissions sought? DCC informed the group that the force does not have the power to edit the episodes but do have the opportunity for scenes to be removed if they could be detrimental to a criminal investigation. The crew confirm with the victim at the scene if they give permission to be filmed but unfortunately do not have the opportunity to pre-warn them that a crew would be there with the officers at first response.
Action 31: DCC to share attrition rates of officer numbers with the group
Action 32: SR to get information around the detail of permissions for victims being filmed
Standing agenda item:
Violence against women and girls – Agenda item for April SIAG Meeting
Date of next meeting: Thursday 7 April 2022, 1400 – 1600, TBC
Title: Strategic Independent Advisory Group
Date: Wednesday 13 October, 14:00-16:00 Venue: MS Teams
IC welcomed the group and led round introductions.
Complaints & Ethical Dilemmas: Police colleagues’ participation in public demonstrations RC raised the dilemma with advisors about whether police officers or staff should be able to attend demonstrations when off duty or display acts of affiliation while on duty ( e.g Black Lives Matter taking the knee) and how as an organisation we achieve a balance between an individual’s rights to express their views & beliefs as individuals, including the right to free assembly, against representing the force through their conduct (potentially bringing discredit to the organisation). RC outlined relevant aspects of the organisation’s code of ethics and standards of professional behaviour but noted that apart from Policy 1176/ 2020 which relates to colleagues joining or affiliating with certain groups and associations there was no specific guidance around demonstrations. RC asked do we need clearer guidance for our workforce, and should we be more prescriptive? – does this affect Human Rights? Were there differences about what constituted a political demonstration against those highlighting issues, for example demonstrations regarding Israel and Palestine versus Black Lives Matter / Violence against women and children? Could attendance at a demonstration or showing affiliation adversely affect the Police’s reputation for being impartial or apolitical?
Feedback from Advisors
Advisors noted that policing should evolve instep with changing societal attitudes, especially with regards to events which support greater equality for marginalised communities, communities that perhaps the police have not historically engaged very well with. Acknowledging and supporting such activities would send a positive message to those communities, upholding Peelian principles of representing the communities they serve. Advisors acknowledged that police officers did have the same human rights as everyone else, including the right to protest and in light of negative historic legacies – when police officers do display affiliation, it is an opportunity for bridges to be built and to show that the police as an organisation has moved on from problems of the past.
Action: RC Slides to be shared with Advisors
Neighbourhood Policing & Community Engagement
SB provided an overview of Sussex Police’s Community engagement strategy. Outlining the ambition to ensure that key communities and groups are meaningfully engaged with, to understand local concerns and priorities and work collectively to identify solutions as well as promote opportunities in policing. SB outlined the key pillars behind the strategy and the Chiefs priorities, including the structure and process for community engagement and responsibilities within each district to ensure they are responsive to shifting priorities and dynamic changes.
Feedback from Advisors
Grateful for the shift in improved engagement, recognising the change in resources. Need to consider communities not online. For rural areas, what will this look like for engagement? SB engaged with parish council lead in Sussex, recognises the importance of rural community engagement, which is included in the patrol plans and wider strategy.
Action: SB Slides to be shared with Advisors
CPS and Case file quality
Challenges in CJS and related national changes have impacted Policing. Case file quality refers to a national requirement to ensure CPS receive required documents for court – it’s a joint responsibility between police and CPS to secure charges. Policing has performance indicators for case files, they do not always complement CPS performance. Police need to send case files in good time to ensure charging decision can be made in a timely manner. Disclosure test is critical to review docs before sending, as well as requirements in how information is presented and ordered. Getting disclosure wrong is a risk and can have a detrimental impact for charging. Colleagues have received new training, local focus around delivering disclosure effectively, this includes redaction of all irrelevant personal information for example – to avoid data breach and loss of trust and confidence. CPS also have a role to consider further redactions and this can impact resourcing for policing. CPS have a new system in place, with teething problems in early stage but intended to make progress for witnesses, victims and suspects – reducing timescales.
Feedback from Advisors
Really pleased to hear improvements of case file quality. The longer witnesses in CJS the less likely they are to continue their support. Again, positive feedback, shared experiences of officer’s passion for progressing in this area.
Op Otter – Labour Party Conference (Sept 2021, Brighton)
One of largest operational event Sussex manages. Key focus on counter terrorism, accreditation, and security risk. The event creates significant demand on multiagency response, massive impact on local policing and communities, with additional protest and counter protest activity, as well as wider disruption for transport. Event was successful, from policing largely due to effective planning, resourcing and commitment of colleagues working through the entire event.
Feedback from Advisors
How many people do Sussex Police have Police Search Advisors trained? LB – really good question, there is an opportunity to explore how we can increase capacity, will take away.
Resettlement of Afghan refugees in Sussex
This includes maritime issues and strategic road drop offs. Policing are extremely empathetic of the experience of anyone making those journeys. More frequent in East Sussex, we have developed improved relationships with other authorities, and more recent focus on supporting unaccompanied children – recognising impact and trauma. Around the county, we engage with key partners to understand and co-work to manage community tensions, issues of safety, hate crime and risks of exploitation due to a wide range of vulnerability
Feedback from Advisors
What’s police views on vigilante groups (patrolling beaches etc)? LB – it is a concern, regarding some incidents of people being hassled outside newly settled dwellings. We have to understand what motivates those individuals, have good partnership links to ensure we can identify and respond to those incidents.
M25/23 environmental protests
Well publicised protests, changing tactics overtime – impact on strategic road networks, impact on communities and business. Has been a need to provide clarity on legislation, power of arrest and define responsibilities. Surrey and Sussex Police forces worked collaboratively on these. Media reporting and criticism of officers asking about protesters welfare and recognition of their human rights. Real challenge to facilitate peaceful protests in dangerous environment with speeding traffic.
Any Other Business
TCG noted the work being done by LV is part of a working group from Serious Crime Command (SCC) in Sussex Police, which is looking at making Achieving Best Evidence interview (ABE) interview rooms and suites more suitable for vulnerable people and Requested Lindsey to be invited to next meeting to update the group
Action DJ to add LV to agenda for next meeting
UO noted a number of opportunities for community engagement with Sussex Police in upcoming weeks including, 25th November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls) & 10th December (Human Rights Day). OU offered to collaborate where possible
Date of next meeting: Wednesday 26 January 2022
Title: Strategic Independent Advisory Group Date: Tuesday 29 June 2021, 13:00-14:30 Venue: MS Teams
IC welcomed the group and led round introductions.
Stakeholder Engagement –Independent Office for Police Conduct
DP and GB provided an overview of the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) and its role in overseeing the police complaints system in England and Wales. The IOPC worked to improve public confidence in policing, by ensuring that the police were accountable for their actions. DP explained that the IOPC investigated only the most serious cases such as incidents or allegations involving death/serious injury either in police custody or following contact with the police. DP also noted that Police forces must refer the most serious cases to the IOPC– regardless of whether someone has made a complaint. They described the process by which investigations were conducted and informed advisors that the IOPC investigated 450 of the most serious and sensitive cases in 2020. DP described a number of initiatives, designed to improve confidence and better engage with the public about the work they do, particularly among younger people and those from diverse ethnic backgrounds where confidence had traditionally been low. These included: A video guide explaining rights around stop and search & the establishment of the IOPC Youth Panel. The Youth Panel was made up of 16 – 24-year olds and provides advice around effective engagement strategy and scrutinising the work the IOPC does. DP also provided a brief overview of the Sussex Stakeholder Engagement work the IOPC are doing, which included Sussex Police public advisory groups.
Advisors thanked DP & GB for their time and requested that the stop search video created by the youth panel be shared with the group. DP informed the group a follow up email will be sent with further information and the stop search video.
Advisors noted 14% of IOPC investigators are made up of ex police officers, querying impartiality and asked what the remainder was made up of. GB informed the group that he did not have the specific break downs to hand but stated colleagues come from a range of diverse backgrounds and noted that ex police staff were often the hardest critics of police actions.
Advisors expressed interest in establishing greater links with IOPC for the IAG in Sussex. Advisors felt with more contact the group would be able to learn more about what the IOPC are doing.
Advisors asked what the number of serious cases IOPC have taken on behalf of Sussex Police. GB informed the group Sussex Police refer a handful of cases every month to IOPC and informed the group reports and data can be shared with the group.
Advisors questioned if the Youth panel are rewarded for the work they do? DP noted that financial reward could bring into question the panel’s independence but acknowledged involvement with mentoring schemes such ‘Leaders Unlocked’ who are a charity that support young people and have introduced summer placements where young people could work within the organisation for the summer period.
Advisors asked how the IOPC respond to Neurodivergence in general with regards to recruitment and investigations. GB informed the group the IOPC have different practitioner groups within their organisations, some of these look at diversity, race and disability and therefore they have particular people they can go to with specific challenges.
Action: DP to send Diversity Team stop search video created by IOPC Independent Youth Panel and figures relating to Sussex to share with the group.
Action: DP to send Diversity Team data publications and presentation slides for SIAG Members
Mental Health and Policing – S136
AG provided an overview of mental health in policing and their role as the Mental Health Portfolio Lead supporting frontline officers. AG informed the group about the support Sussex Police provide for mental health and ensuring appropriate were interventions in place as necessary. AG described how section 136 of the Mental Health Act empowers police officers to detain someone to a place of safety where they can be interview by an approved mental health professional and doctor. AG described the ‘’Blue Light Triage scheme where a police officer and mental health professional work together and respond to mental health instances in Sussex. Blue Light is not a 24/7 service so when it is unavailable officers have access to ‘Haven’ which is a dedicated blue light line for officers to contact mental health professionals to guide them through decision making.
Advisors asked if Sussex Police refer to the ‘Stay Well' services, which is a more informal, more time limited, out of hour’s service related more to de-escalation and pre-crisis engagement. AG noted that due to the nature of their work, police officers invariably only become involved in a situation when crisis has already been reached. They reminded the group that police officers were not mental health professionals and that working with such professionals as soon as someone’s mental health issues were identified was paramount. Advisors also asked about Sussex Police’s authority to access medical records of people in custody experiencing crisis. AG informed the group officers must work in tandem with Sussex Liaison and Diversion Professionals while people are detained in custody. AG noted that such action should always be for a specific purpose and consent will be factored in. AG responded to concerns whether Sussex Police were using the Serenity Integrated Monitoring (S.I.Ms) program to monitor “High Intensity” users of blue light services. They recognised that this was a contentious tool – especially around information governance and that Sussex Police did not use it – but did acknowledge there was a need for greater mental health response provision within Sussex, especially a system that was developed in partnership with people who have lived experience.
Youth Offending: Non Admissions Audit
SR provided an overview of the work their team was doing in relation to reducing disproportionality of young people within the criminal justice system, particularly those from black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds. They highlighted aspects of the Lammy Report which stated that ‘the B.A.M.E proportion of youth prisoners has risen from 25% to 41% in the decade 2006-2016’ and that B.A.M.E defendants were consistently more likely than white defendants to plead not guilty in court’. SR described a recent pilot programme that sought to keep young people out of the criminal justice system through support and education to reduce reoffending. SR talked about how important it was to understand the mind-set of a young person, especially in terms of their motivations and decision making process and how they may not understand or attach a sense of importance to actions that may have profound connotations on them in later life. SR described identifying a “reachable moment”, giving young offenders an opportunity to enter into diversion/non-custodial programs; including community resolution, without an admission of guilt. Previously this could only be offered when there was evidence to proceed and an admission was made in the PACE interview. SR stated that there were currently 16 young people currently taking part in the pilot and described the journey of one young person to illustrate the process. Their team also cooperated closely with other agencies as part of a multi-agency working group where safeguarding, victim views and monitoring were all sighted and were also making effective use of Youth Offending Panels to manage ‘denials’. SR stated that so far feedback from stakeholders been very good, the scheme has another 6 months to run and then hopefully full rollout pending successful evaluation.
Advisors thanked SR for the presentation and hoped the pilot would be a great success, especially considering the greater understanding around the criminal exploitation of young people than we did in the past.
DCC congratulated SR on recently receiving the QPM for services to domestic abuse.
Op Apollo – Sussex Police response to Covid-19, stating there had been an increase in disorderly incidents reported to Sussex Police in recent weeks as restrictions begin to lift– reports have been mainly around house parties and some pubs and there had been 15 fixed penalties issued in last 2.
Reduced frequency of protests - attending the last one being Kill the Bill.
Re England and the Euros, there have been very few incidents related to football, just 13 in the force since beginning of Euros - mainly due to intoxicated fans. Also special attention made to correlation between football and domestic abuse via Operation Hope.
Re Steyning unlicensed music event (rave) which took place on 27 June, attended by over 2000 people, with issues encountered with drugs, alcohol and abandoned vehicles. DCC gave clear instructions to shut it down and the operation sought mutual aid from surrounding police forces. Officers remained on duty for 17hrs to close down the event. 90 people were arrested mainly for drink/drug driving offences. All custody suites were filled in Sussex so had to use DCC thanked all colleagues for their efforts in helping to resolve.
Police to be mindful of issues across the hospitality industry, especially nightclubs getting enough staff it may have knock on effects when it comes to policing the night.
Request for police to continue to cooperate with organisers of marches and protests to prevent trouble by unwanted or violent groups seeking to create disorder.
Request for Sussex Police to ensure safety and security of women staying in quarantine hotels – in light of recent reports of inappropriate conduct by hotel security against women in some.
Request to circulate more widely, video about personal experience of domestic violence made by Sussex Police.
Date of next meeting: 13 October 2021
Title: Strategic Independent Advisory Group Date: Wednesday 28 April, 13:00-14:30 Venue: MS Teams
1.Welcome & Introductions
2.Sussex Police response to organised immigration crime
RL provided advisors with an overview of Sussex Police’s response to organised immigration crime (OIC). OIC is the organised facilitation of persons travelling into and out of the UK, or remaining in the UK without a legal right to do so. RL outlined some of the challenges faced by policing, including links to human trafficking, professional concealments, language barriers, legislation changes and departure from the EU. RL described how advances in technology had made it easier for criminals to produce fraudulent documents of much better quality than ever before. RL also described how Sussex Police worked closely with a number of partner agencies such as the National Crime Agency & Border Force to seek, develop and share intelligence, maintain trusted working relationships and maximise interoperability in order to counter threats posed by OIC.
Advisors asked how Sussex compared to other areas in relation to incidents which are inland or maritime, and whether this data could be shared with the group. RL informed the group that data is collated by Immigration Enforcement and it is difficult to compare different areas, due to different road networks, geography and possible varied priorities and approaches by different regions.
Advisors also asked about the detainment procedure for migrants who had been arrested, particularly with regard to safeguarding? RL outlined the process and gave an example of responding to incidents where people had been apprehended in a boat or a vehicle. An important aspect was to establish whether they are part of a family group and ascertaining their individual situation - whether they were an economic migrant, a refugee or a victim of trafficking, all of which may necessitate different pathways for support/response/outcomes by immigration officials depending on vulnerability.
3. Ethical Dilemmas & Complaints
RC provided advisors with an ethical dilemma highlighting the investigation and management of corruption. Recognising this as a risk, RC outlined how this was managed in an effective yet sensitive way, without breaching data protection or impacting on the human rights of the individual. RC provided the group with a case study describing how Sussex Police’s Anti-Corruption Unit had obtained intelligence that identified an officer who was the intended target of an Organised Crime Group (OCG) and RC outlined subsequent actions taken by the Anti-Corruption Unit to effectively resolve.
Advisors thanked RC for their input and noted the difficulties faced by The Anti-Corruption Unit in maintaining confidentiality/integrity of their operation while managing the concerns of the officer concerned. Advisors were concerned that risk of corruption must be challenging for Sussex Police to deal with. RC reassured the group that it is very rare and that there were pro-active capabilities within the Anti- Corruption unit that enables the force to monitor individuals who had been identified at risk of corruption.
4. Overview of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion communications and activity 2021
DT provided an overview of the communication and engagement activity taking place in 2021. DT informed the group of a broad range of communications, events and live learning exercises scheduled across Sussex Police. Principally to inform colleagues thinking and share lived experiences, with the aim of progressing inclusion in the workplace and improving the experience of colleagues and the diverse communities we serve
Advisors recognised the range of diverse awareness days and events held by the Diversity Team as positive, and that intersections of identity should be accentuated where possible. Advisors requested to have the traditional pre-meets re-established - to discuss agenda items and topics they wish to share in the meeting. DT informed the group the Diversity Team would be happy to facilitate this.
5. Force Update
DCC provided a summary of the recent challenges faced by the force. These included:
With reductions in COVID restrictions, Sussex Police are seeing a change in the public’s behaviour. Penalty notices for breaching regulations have been mainly related to not following government rules for numbers at gatherings, including mixing of households. Sussex Police recognise there may be an increase of reporting other crimes as more restrictions begin to ease and reassured the group the force have a number of measures in place to respond to this.
Less police officers and staff were reporting sick with COVID and less were having to self-isolate. DCC informed the group that some colleagues required short term sickness leave due to the reaction of the COVID-19 vaccinations but expressed the importance of all colleagues being protected through the vaccination program.
DCC provided insight to recent protests in Sussex. There were three Kill the Bill protests in Brighton, two of which had more than 1000 people in attendance and had caused some disruption.. DCC expressed the importance of policing to allow people’s right to protest and to balance this carefully with considerations for public safety and enabling those not involved in protests to go about their daily lives.
DCC described Sussex Police’s approach (including some challenges) to policing the Sarah Everard protests and informed the group there is an important focus nationally, through policing and in wider society to address violence against women and girls and shared some of the work Sussex Police have been doing towards this. DCC stated that it was important for people to feel safe when they to go out, socialise and travel in public spaces. They highlighted a number of initiatives taking place across divisions which focussed on the night time economy to ensure women and girls felt safe within their environment, these included
Operation Marble in Brighton and across West and East Divisions, These operations work closely with partners, local authority and crime reductions partnerships to ensure people feel safe and are safe in their local environment. Data Analytics tools are also used to understand high harm spots, so that the force are able to focus recourses in that area with additional patrols and supporting activity.
DCC described the extensive work being conducted by youth officers in partnership with local stakeholders to engage in local schools and across the media, encouraging younger people to come forwards and talk about their recent experiences especially in relation to organised criminal gangs and County Lines, promoting safeguarding and establish a clearer picture of criminal activities targeting the young.
DCC described a range of initiatives in place to respond to incidents of domestic violence, and how Sussex Police had been working specifically with local support agencies to understand how the force can provide the best service to support women and girls affected by violence. This included an overview of Operation Hope; where victims of domestic violence or abuse were being visited by independent domestic abuse advisors to check on their wellbeing and welfare.
Advisors were concerned at the increasing number of protests compared to recent years and expressed concern that so many people at this time were feeling unhappy within society to the extent they felt the need to protest. Advisors recognised it was challenging to police these situations and were supportive of the balanced approach taken. Some advisors also expressed concern that support for the police was not at its highest in some communities, partly in response to the number of protests in recent months but also due to the way the police were perceived to have handled some of those protests. Advisors felt Sussex Police ‘s approach should be policing marches and protests in a sensitive way, recognising people have the right to protest, especially when the subject of the protest was so sensitive (Re Sarah Everard murder). DCC affirmed the right to protest and that policing has a role to ensure its approach is balanced with respect to those trying to go about their daily life and business.
Advisors shared the Domestic Abuse meeting for Sussex Partnership Foundation Trust and questioned if it would be possible to have police representation at these meetings? DCC was happy for this connection to be made so the forum is informed of the work Sussex Police do.
Date of next meeting: Tuesday 29 June 2021, 13:00-14:30
Title: Strategic Independent Advisory Group
Date: Tuesday 26 January 2021, 14:00 – 15:30
Venue: MS Teams
IC welcomed the group and led round table introductions.
JP provided the group with an update on Op Titan, which is Sussex Police’s organisational response to the Covid-19 pandemic and associated legislation. They described how Sussex Police’s approach to policing had developed throughout the year in order to respond effectively to changing circumstances. For example – splitting officer groups up to ensure social distancing and changing our resourcing profile to be more visible in key areas.
JP also described how certain areas represented particular challenges for policing – for example along Brighton Seafront there were many people out and it was not always easy determining who should or should not be there. In such cases the police were working closely with local authorities, including Sussex and Brighton Universities to promote understanding and awareness about the regulations –JP acknowledged that most people had been very cooperative.
Advisors asked if police officers were on the priority list for receiving vaccinations as key workers. JP confirmed that this was not the case but that this may have changed by February. JP did state, that in certain circumstances Police Officers were being offered the Pfizer vaccine on an ad hoc basis, but assured advisors this only occurred at the end of the day where there were doses remaining in NHS practices. As the Pfizer vaccine cannot be stored over night, they would go to waste otherwise. JP further assured advisors that there was a process in place around ethics to ensure we were doing this as ethically as possible, an officer would never take the place of a vulnerable person getting the vaccine and would never ask for it. In some instances we have had a 30 minute notice to an available vaccine and the most vulnerable officer will receive this, however due to timings this is not always possible.
Advisors asked what the process was if a staff member or officer refused to have the vaccine? JP stated that Sussex Police understand some people are nervous about vaccines – they are intrusive and will work with NHS to mitigate this by addressing their concerns and through education.
Advisors asked if the force are doing any work around Sexual Violence Awareness Week and Children’s Mental Health Awareness week and whether they will be displaying awareness posters in vehicles and station or on their social media sites? DT reassured the group that Sussex Police are mindful of awareness days that are held throughout the calendar year and will dedicate resources into supporting Mental Health Awareness week in May.
Action 20: DT to provide overview of the plan of awareness days over the year for the next meeting.
Ethical Dilemmas & Complaints
LB led the presentation on Ethical Dilemmas and Complaints and asked advisors for their consideration and insight. LB described, how as an employer Sussex Police sometimes have to carry out misconduct procedures and emphasised the importance of this process in terms of legitimacy and transparency, especially with regards to public perception. LB informed the group that officers can be held publicly to account for allegations of serious wrong doings and there is a duty to publish information of hearings both before and after the hearing.
LB informed the group that according to the Police Barred List, since 2017, 21 Sussex Police Officers had been dismissed from the force without the public being informed. LB asked advisors if they felt we should have disclosed those names to the public/media, acknowledging that there were many people in the media who believed that disciplinary hearings should not be held in private.
Some advisors felt names should be disclosed to the public as if they have been dismissed from the force. LB informed the group that once an officer has left the service they become private individuals and therefore we needed to consider how to respect their privacy in a fair and balanced way, LB stated that an officer who is dismissed from the force will be entered onto the barred list which is administered by National College of Policing and therefore their record was publically available this way.
Advisors also felt there might be particular circumstances where there should be private hearings, for example where details of confidential police operations may be disclosed or if there was an investigation which related to domestic abuse, especially where the victim might be a police officer. Sensitive information around the victim should always be safeguarded and protected.
Advisors asked if the legally qualified chair ever relies on precedent set by previous hearings to inform on the current proceedings. LB confirmed that previous case law was considered but the disciplinary guidance framework was very clear with statutory guidance produced by the Home Office. LB also stated that there were clearly defined appeal mechanisms in place for officers and staff who felt they were wrongly censured. If an officer was dismissed and later reinstated there would be a full audit trail kept, relating to all aspects of the investigation, the misconduct proceedings, the outcomes and service record.
DCC Chapman provided the group with a Force Update highlighting the ongoing impact that COVID-19 has had on police colleagues and how this has been managed. DCC Chapman stated that Sussex Police were very conscious about the way COVID-19 could affect colleagues at Sussex Police and ensuring the force would be able to continue delivering an effective service safe was a priority. They stated a number of measures had been implemented to mitigate any disruption, these included: Provision of hand sanitiser dispensers, personal protective equipment and social distancing requirements. Where social distancing was challenging, screens where put in place to protect staff, teams were split up into different spaces. DCC Chapman confirmed that these measures worked really well as there was minimal staff absence due to COVID-19. DCC Chapman informed the group that due to the new strain of COVID-19 during the period of December – January far more staff were off absent with COVID-19 or had to self-isolate, the impact of the new strain could also be recognised in the wider community as well. Sussex Police have continued to communicate the importance of messaging regarding safety measures and have seen the amount of staff ill and/or self-isolating reduce.
DCC Chapman provided the group with data that showed on the week ending 18 January 2021 Sussex Police received 1106 calls in one week regarding COVID-19 and felt the public are not responding to current COVID lockdown in the same way as they had during the first lockdown in March 2020. Public Sector agencies of the Sussex Resilience Forum declared a major incident in December.
DCC Chapman provided the group with data on Fixed Penalty Notices. 120 Fixed Penalty Notices were issued in Sussex from Friday 15 – Sunday 17 January 2021. Since the first lockdown Sussex Police have issues over 1300 Fixed Penalty Notices, in the third lockdown up until the week of the 20 January Sussex Police had issues 224 Fixed Penalty Notices.
DCC Chapman provided an update around Domestic Abuse and the impact COVID has had on reporting it. DCC Chapman emphasised the importance that government messaging is very clear, if someone is fleeing from Domestic Abuse that is a legitimate reason for them to leave their homes. Sussex Police are encouraging people to report Domestic Abuse and seek support. The force recognise that current reporting of Domestic Abuse is suppressed and once the lockdown restrictions have lifted we are likely to see an increase. Therefore it is important for Sussex Police to be in communication with partner agencies and to be prepared for this. DCC Chapman informed the group that officers have been made aware that when on call outs, they may be the only people outside of their family home that victims of domestic abuse are seeing and therefore it is important to pick up on the signs of child and domestic abuse signs.
Advisors were concerned about child abuse and questioned how we can effectively support and respond to the issue in light of current circumstances and how children can report? DCC Chapman recognised that children will usually report abuse through people they trust such as, schools, nurseries and trusted friends/family members but due to COVID it has meant children are in less contact with these trusted people and emphasised the importance of why officers need to recognise these signs of abuse.
Advisors questioned what plans are in place if too many members of staff fall ill or have to self-isolate due to COVID. DCC Chapman reassured the group that we have not reached this point and still have full policing response which is reviewed daily. However, should this happen there are plans in place and have been since March 2020.
Advisors questioned what effect COVID had on officer morale? DCC Chapman felt COVID had affected officers and staff in many different ways. Officers were often concerned they might be putting their families at risk when they are working directly with the public on a daily basis. DCC Chapman recognised the additional hours officers have been working and felt officers deserve more recognition and respect for their work “which had been above and beyond “to deliver on the service provided, DCC also stated they felt proud of the way staff have embraced the changes with little complaint.
Advisors questioned if this will change policing methods in the future? DCC confirmed that Sussex Police have recognised how some of our processes have worked better being online and will be keeping them this way. It has also been recognised that if people do not need to travel for meetings/events they are able to attend more and stay for longer.
Advisors questioned if more officers or police staff have been infected with COVID-19? The amount of officers and police staff who have been infected is similar but has varied throughout the year.
Advisors were concerned that there are not enough officers patrolling and felt people are travelling outside of their local areas to beauty spots.
Advisors questioned how Sussex Police are keeping a record of officers who have been vaccinated so it is known when they are due to have their second vaccine? JP informed the group when officers attend their first vaccination their details are put into the National system so they are informed when they are due to have their follow up vaccine 12 weeks later.
Date of next meeting: Wednesday 28 April 2021, 13:00 – 14:30, MS Teams.
Strategic Independent Advisory Group
26 October 2020, 13.00 – 15.00
IC welcomed the group and explained housekeeping.
Firearms Licensing: Mental Health Safeguarding
PG explained their role in Surrey and Sussex and gave an overview of the Firearms and Explosives Licensing Unit (FELU), including what roles are involved in the unit and what they do. The FELU provides assistance to the Home office in respect of Prohibited Weapon authorities, but their primary role is to ensure firearm certificate holders and applicants are responsible individuals and do not pose a likely threat to the public through wilful mishandling.
Recent legislative changes requiring new applicants/holders to obtain a report from an appropriate medical provider, certifying their qualification to use a firearm and disclose any relevant medical conditions to FELU, to add a further level of safeguarding to this process.
Advisors expressed concern that not all individuals with mental health problems will go to their GP, they may go privately or self-refer themselves to other services and therefore questioned how FELU will be able to gain access to the individuals GP certificate. PG informed the group that this is where the appropriate medical practitioner will be involved, due to the application process the applicant is required to declare any relevant medical condition/s. This includes for example health issues such as Depression, Anxiety, Parkinson’s, Motor neurone disease, Multiple Sclerosis and Diabetes.
Advisors questioned how Sussex Police deal with reports of illegal use of firearms. JC assured advisors that any reports received of firearms being discharged are fully investigated, and there would be grounds to revoke any license issued if it was found the firearm had been discharged unlawfully. They stated that public safety remained Sussex Police’s paramount concern at all times.
Ethical Dilemmas & Complaints
RC gave an overview from the Professional Standards Department of an Ethical Dilemma; questioning whether Police Officers and Police Staff are excessively punished because of the job that they do. RC provided a detailed step by step for an example of a member of staff being investigated criminally for an assault and public order offence which was captured on CCTV and witnessed by members of the public. RC paused at each stage of the process to capture advisors views on appropriate steps to take, following with an organisational view.
Advisors generally indicated preference for a lesser gravity of sanctions and wanted to know about arrangements in place re safeguarding/supporting staff who were being investigated in these circumstances, especially if they were being investigated for serious criminal activity. RC stated that Sussex Police have recently revised their welfare policy to support staff in this respect, which now had a clear guidance structure, including risk assessments for the more serious cases. This guidance also provides signposting to external agencies for those colleagues who wished to speak to someone outside of Sussex Police to ensure appropriate support is available.
VB provided an overview of the Force Action Plan around harmful practices; an initiative aimed at reaching hidden crimes in communities which police have traditionally found difficulty in engaging with. VB described how harmful practices negatively affected some of society’s most vulnerable people and outlined patterns of abuse and violence which primarily affected women and young girls – often masked beneath a false veil of honour or religious practice. VB stated that harmful practices represented some of the greatest forms of child and human rights abuse, explaining how Sussex Police were committed to enhancing their response in this area and the progress made to date.
Part of the strategy of engagement with those communities that VB described was to work with external agencies in order to provide a bridge between the police and communities where distrust existed. One such organisation VB mentioned in this context was ‘Crime stoppers’, who alongside the borough council had helped Sussex Police conduct a targeted campaign of awareness in Crawley – which had already been identified as an area with occurrences of harmful practice.
In this context VB gave an example of Sussex Police’s Operation Limelight which takes place annually at Gatwick Airport
(Covid permitting) focussing on intervention, education and victim identification. This operation focuses on safeguarding opportunities as it recognised nationally that especially during the school summer holidays there is enhance risk of people travelling, either as perpetrators or victims of honour/cultural based abuse. Sussex Police are keen to make this operation more community based in its approach by working more with local organisations, rather than a purely police /border force operation. It is at present and noted that authorities at Gatwick Airport were cooperative with Sussex Police around promoting Operation.
VB described how Sussex Police had identified a clear need to increase training and investment in this area. Funding has been secured for 25 officers and staff to be trained as champions which will be delivered by Karma Nirvana and the National Centre for FGM (in January 2021). These champions will be embedded in local divisions to assist with advice, support and specialist knowledge. VB noted that through the Regional and National Working Group, Sussex Police were currently taking part in a pilot scheme relating to forced marriage and female genital mutation protection orders. Previously there has been a disconnection between protection orders made elsewhere in the country and how that was being delivered as a safeguarding package for a different force area. There is now a more integrated process between courts which should result in a more efficient safe guarding response to victims of harmful practice when they are identified.
Advisors suggested that Domestic Abuse organisations, such as RISE and WORTH, would be helpful to work with as a partner - as they provide local Domestic Abuse support and may be getting cases reported to them. VB reassured the group that Sussex Police are liaising with RISE and WORTH as part of this work.
Advisors felt there is definitely under reporting of these crimes and recognised this may be because it is difficult for a victim to report on their own family as they do not want to criminalise them, and advisors felt there needs to be larger piece of work in engaging with communities to improve trust and confidence.
DCC Chapman gave the group a force update which included an update on Operation Trebor, relating to the drones incident at Gatwick last Christmas. The investigation is now closed but had almost 200 witness statements taken and 60 persons of interest were identified, unfortunately the offender was not identified and brought to justice. Since the time of the incident county drone measures has improved, which means that now Sussex Police have advanced track, detect and identifying equipment which enables the detection of a drone in restricted air space, track it and detect where it is being piloted from. The equipment is being funded by the Home Office and will be a secondary skill taught to officers in the Gatwick Airport area. Located at Gatwick Airport Sussex Police also have Skywall, which is a device which can be deployed to capture a drone and safety bring it back down to the ground.
DCC Chapman gave an overview on OP Titan - the response from Sussex Police of COVID and Brexit. Superintendent Julia Pope is the gold commander leading the operation over the next 3-6 month period. This operation will cover 3 core issues:
Sussex Police’s response to COVID with the government restrictions and health issues.
EU exit impact on communities from a policing perspective and providing officers to support Kent who are expected to see issues at the channel tunnel and the ports.
Seasonal winter issues such as flooding, snow and winter flu.
This co-ordinated approach will see Sussex Police work closely with local resilience forum in Sussex which includes all other voluntary and key agencies.
DDC JC asked the group on possible new agenda items and their thoughts on them for the next meetings. All advisors were in favour of the suggestions:
Sussex Polices comprehensive response to anti-social behaviour on the road
Sussex Polices response to organised immigration crime
DDC JC lead on inclusion with the work progressed by Sussex police for recruitment, retention and development of staff and developing insight around experiences of Black, Asian and minority ethnic colleagues in Sussex Police.
Advisors informed the group on the hidden disabilities sunflower lanyard that individuals may wear to alert members of the public that they have a hidden disability and questioned if officers have these. Officers and staff members do not have these, however Sussex Police will look into this to make sure officers are aware of their purpose.
Date of next meeting: 26 January 14.00 – 16.00
Strategic Independent Advisory Group
24 July 2020 at 14:00-15:30
IC welcomed everyone to the meeting, explained housekeeping and led round table introductions.
Ethical Dilemmas & Complaints
RC gave an overview of the role carried out by the Professional Standards Department (PSD) in Sussex Police, their updated complaints system and how complaints against officers and staff are being managed. This new customer focussed process was designed to be fully accessible to the public and improve confidence in the police through greater accountability. RC stated this meant there was now an emphasis around the organisation learning from its mistakes rather than apportioning blame to individuals. RC described how this legislation was being applied and noted that now, every expression of dissatisfaction made by a member of the public was to be recorded and not just complaints as before, it was felt this more in-depth approach would allow for a greater understanding of police performance and lead to improvements in the service we provide. To illustrate how these new changes were being applied in practice JC described the complexities of an ongoing misconduct case that was being investigated by PSD against a police officer, including the criteria employed and dilemmas faced by PSD; especially the decision making process assessing the severity of alleged misconduct and what safeguarding was in place to support police officers who are subject to a misconduct investigation.
Advisor feedback: Advisors expressed concern for the welfare of officers when complaints were made against them and asked what safeguarding strategies were in place to support. RC reassured advisors that the welfare of officers was taken seriously and understood the impact these cases had on the officers themselves. Available support included suicide risk assessment and involvement of outside agencies as well as intervention via the Police Federation and Employee Assistance Programme who are there to support officers and their families during this time. The NPCC were also working on new guidelines which Sussex Police would be looking to adopt. Advisors were interested to know more about historical complaints data against the police force. RC advised that the complaints data always fluctuated and there were many external factors which influenced this variance. RC stated however that by introducing ‘dissatisfaction’ as a recordable complaint, this would lead to an increase in the number of complaints overall.
Action: RC to circulate Sussex complaint data for next meeting and how it is comparable with other forces.
Assessing Threat Harm Risk by local Resolution: Grade 3 DA assessment Complaints
SR introduced the Local Resolution Team (LRT) which is a team of 39 officers, who respond to high volume but low risk domestic abuse (DA) incidents. SR described a victim focussed and comprehensive approach to improving the experience of DA victims, these included: improving the timeliness that police teams would engage with victims (within 12 hours of initial contact), assessing the level of risk appropriately, leaving victims feeling safer than they had been before contacting Sussex Police, increasing criminal justice opportunities and signposting victims to relevant safe guarding organisations for further support. The LRT can cater for 10,000 appointments per year consisting of a 2 hour appointment per individual, which can be extended if required. The preference for these meetings are a face to face appointment at the police station but during the Covid-19 period this method of appointment had to be adapted to video technologies, due to the predicted increase of domestic abuse reporting over the lockdown period and to ensure everyone could stay safe and abide by regulations.
Advisor feedback: Advisors thanked SR for their input and agreed that this was a very useful new initiative on the part of Sussex police to improve domestic abuse victim experience, they felt this was especially true with regards to the LRT’s comprehensive approach to risk assessment and the level of training officers in the team had received to understand and respond to the complexities of such cases. This was deemed especially true in the way risk was continually being assessed by investigators; that great efforts were made by officers to get to the heart of what was really going on in a victim’s life in order to uncover hidden /underlying risk that would previously have been un-recorded.
Some advisors provided personal insight relating to their own experiences around stalking and harassment (S&H) and described mixed results in the way Sussex Police had responded to these incidents and wondered how Sussex Police could learn from mistakes made and how to ensure best practice was followed at all times. SR responded that Sussex Police understood that there were times when we hadn’t got it right but were dedicated to learning lessons.
RC stated that, Sussex Police were currently conducting a robust appraisal process of the way Sussex Police responds to reports of stalking and harassment which was being led by a C.Supt to provide oversight. RC described a number of steps being taken to improve the experience of S&H victims including the use of stalking prevention orders and enhanced powers to prevent and prosecute those accused of S&H.
Advisors were keen to hear more about the statistical breakdown of DA cases across Sussex and how many referrals the LRT were receiving via partner agencies to help Sussex police develop insight. SR responded that this data was not available at present although they were in daily contact with partner agencies such as Rise & Portal. SR also stated that as part of the engagement plan the LRT was keen to develop its understanding across all demographics.
Advisors asked about specific training that officers have received to help them conduct this type of investigation. SR described the enhanced training programme that all LRT investigators had undertaken, which included ‘Domestic Abuse Matters’, ‘Domestic Abuse Still Matters’, ‘Stalking and Harassment’ training and safeguarding advice which was delivered by external companies.
Action - DT to contact DP re Brighton with CI Rachel Swinney details.
Action – SR invites KD to join stalking scrutiny panel
Safeguarding Children during Summer Holidays
JH provided an overview of how child safeguarding is structured in Sussex through the use of multi-agency safeguarding hubs (MASH), who jointly work together to protect child safety and safeguarding through referrals from the Single Combined assessment of Risk form (SCARF). JH described the ‘See Something, Say something’ campaign which focuses on vulnerable children and encourages people to report any concerns they may have towards a child’s safety to the MASH.
JH provided an overview of safeguarding arrangements for children during the summer holidays, describing a partnership consisting of local authorities, the police and health providers to coordinate safeguarding, statutory responsibilities and local initiatives with inclusion of an Independent scrutineer to helps ensure the partnership delivers on its priorities.
JH described the role of the (MASH) which are situated throughout Sussex, to jointly assess & coordinate the best support response for referrals which are made, via SCARF forms. When police officers attended incidents involving children or vulnerable adults a SCARF is completed. JH noted that each partner would have specific responsibilities according to their primary role and unless the referral case had a criminal aspect, the police do not have primacy over decision making.
JH described the way schools were an important source of SCARF referrals and safeguarding and how there was an intelligence gap around identifying vulnerable children during the summer holidays. JH stated the importance of mitigating this intelligence gap to ensure that vulnerable children do not get lost in the system.
JH offered contacted details for the group if anyone wished to get in touch after the meeting.
JC thanked the group for attending the meeting introduced herself as Temporary Deputy Chief Constable. JC provided an overview of what new Chief Constable Jo Shiner’s 3 key priorities are for Sussex Police going forwards which were:
Protect our communities, catch criminals and deliver outstanding services to witnesses, victims and the public
JC described how during the lockdown period, there had been a 25% decrease in recorded crime and at present, crime rates were 14% lower than this time last year.
New guidance on face mask wearing inside shops presented new challenges around enforcement. JS stated that the police would be likely to attend incidents where there were concerns about public order or breaches of the peace.
JC updated that there had been several recent protests across Sussex, primarily around Black Lives Matters involving over 10,000 people. These events had been largely peaceful and acknowledged the role played by members of Sussex Police’s Race Advisory Group Liaising with the Gold Commander to ensure the police were adopted the right tone and approach to policing the events while maintaining public safety.
Recent promotion processes , Supt and Ch.Supt has been recently completed, which resulted in a diverse mix of successful candidates, very important for Sussex Police to continue to encourage and work towards eliminating disproportionality at all levels
Diversity Update: Age Equality Charter / Covid-19 Fixed Penalty Notices
DT provided an overview of the Age Equality Charter and described the Older Persons Older Group which was exploring current policies and breaking down barriers in regards to age progression/recruitment and retention.
DT described how the Stop and Search Scrutiny Panel have been looking into the data for the Fixed Penalty Notices issued over the lockdown period and this data would be released the following week by the NPCC for the public to view. The data looked at was broken down by gender, age and ethnicity and the disproportion of tickets issued and then discussed.
Strategic Independent Advisory Group
Tuesday 14 April 2020 at 0900-1000- Telephone Conference Call
Welcome & Introductions
IC welcomed everyone to the meeting and led round table introductions.
Sussex Police Update:
JS provided an overview of how Sussex Police had been responding to the demands of COVID 19 public health crisis while continuing to provide routine police services. JS stated the force was focussing on maintaining a balanced policing style and were mindful of the difficult circumstances many people were living with. Sussex Police would seek to encourage, educate, explain and engage with the public before enforcing government legislation, which was not always clear and precise. JS stated that the vast majority of interactions so far had been positive, more than 100 tickets were issued over the Easter Weekend, all of whom were for people who had travelled from outside of Sussex. JS also stated that the force were working hard to mitigate risk of frontline colleague’s exposure to the COVID 19 virus (and their families) by issuing appropriate PPE amidst changing guidelines.
Advisors General Q & A
JM asked how Sussex Police were protecting their Officers in the field from the virus and when going about their duties. JS stated that Sussex Police continued to provide all the police services and respond to incidents in the same way that it had done prior to COVID19 but noted that officers were issued with PPE and maintained social distancing where possible.
JS replied there had been some high profile incidents of people spitting at police officers but JS noted the courts had been very proactive in their support for officers assaulted in this way.
KD asked how Sussex Police were enforcing the lockdown of people’s movements on roads coming into Sussex which must be more difficult to do compared to the railways. JS responded that it is a complex area to police, there were no specific COVID related powers in place for Sussex Police to enforce roadblocks – and we wouldn’t necessarily want to use those powers anyway. JS believed that adopting a pragmatic approach and policing by consent was the most appropriate way responding to current legislation.
GG asked about domestic violence and whether Sussex Police had noticed a discernible uptake in the number of incidents reported. JS responded that there had been a reduction in the number of crimes recorded, but an increase in the number of incidents reported, in particularly more incidents of arguing. This was partly because of a more adaptive response put in place by local resolution teams attending and logging incidents. not all incidents result In a crime) .JS was mindful of the possibility for a large spike in Domestic violence reports post lockdown and planning was in place to respond accordingly.
Action: Agenda Item future SIAG JS Assessing Threat Harm Risk by local Resolution: Grade 3 DA assessment
DP- provided some personal feedback about the way police had been engaging with people on Brighton Promenade – on the whole this had been good natured and friendly. He welcomed this non confrontational approach and the positive engagement provided welcome social contact, especially for elderly people and those who were feeling isolated. DP requested JS remind all officers to adopt this approach when interacting with members of the public. JS responded that all of our briefings emphasised how important consensual policing was and acknowledged that we don’t always get it right, but would ensure this message is further reinforced at future officer briefings. She stressed that she was very proud of how officers had adapted so quickly to the circumstances.
AB Requested JS respond to a couple of reported incidents where parents of children with autism had been stopped and turned back by police officers when travelling in their car. Their children’s requirements meant they had to access a more remote location for exercise .JS stated that everyone’s circumstances where different and officers should adopt a pragmatic and common sense approach- JS requested that AB forward details of the incident for further scrutiny.
AB raised concerns about motorists taking advantage of the quiet roads by speeding. JS acknowledged this was an issue especially with motorcyclists and there were additional road policing units deployed to counter.
KD As key workers, what contingencies does Sussex Police have in place to support mental health of staff coping with the crisis? JS responded that we have taken a very proactive response to the wellbeing of our staff and a number of measures have been put in place to support. JS was mindful that mental health effects vary in individuals and PTSD like symptoms can take months or even years to manifest. As an organisation JS stated we need to ensure long term mental health support is in place.
FJ asked how the morale of colleagues in Sussex Police was faring under the circumstances. JS stated that anecdotally and from her own engagements with colleagues, morale at all levels remained high. This is what we train for. Sussex Police had high levels of preparedness training and contingency planning in place for all eventualities.
PHJ asked whether Sussex Police had seen new crime types or variations of crime occurring since the start of COVID19 that criminals were taking advantage of. JS noted that incidents of online fraud and other online criminal activity had increased. JS was concerned about children making unsavoury online connections through gaming and social media that they otherwise would not have done – especially so as there was no school ‘safety net’ in place.
IS- thanked Sussex Police for their communication and reassurance towards the residents of Arun & Chichester regards the arrest of a man wanted on serious charges. JS thanked IS and stated it is important we take every opportunity to increase public confidence.
IC thanked JS for her time and restated a number of the advisors sentiments throughout of the excellent work Sussex Police were doing to provide reassurance and public safety in extraordinary circumstances. JS responded that the positive feedback was well received and would be passed back to officers and staff.
IC suggested the possibility of inviting police engagement teams into conference call settings with other agencies EG. ‘Amaze’ and invite advisors to contact the Diversity Team for possible link ups.
Possibility of future meetings taking place on Zoom or Skype was discussed. There are some logistical /technical/security issues still to be resolved.
Next Meeting: Friday 24 July 2020, 1400-1530 via conference call
2. Welcome, introductions and previous minutes update
IC welcomed everyone to the meeting and led round table introductions.
Operation Uplift: CV gave an overview of funding for an uplift of Police Officers. A 3 year Government plan (year 1 confirmed) providing opportunities to invest and improve service delivery. Year 1 of Uplift equates to 129 PC posts, this however doesn’t include broader costs, such as police staff ‘enabler’ requirements or supervisory support. A mixed investment using Op Uplift and potential precept funding will enable Sussex Police to develop resources in support of the 2020 Transformation Strategy. CV added it was an exciting and reassuring period of growth for Sussex Police, which will benefit both staff and the public. There is a challenge in that the public may be unclear as to what this increase means for local policing, and national narrative talks about officers on the street, although demand and risk is also in other key areas which are often ‘unseen’. CV asked advisors how Sussex Police can ensure the public understand hidden demand and the wider complexities of policing, to recognise investment is in the right areas.
Advisors thank CV for the presentation. JR suggested social media could be used as an effective way to publicise and explain to the public. Another suggestion was for police on patrol to wear hi-visibility vests to increase visibility in the community. KD suggested transferring relevant information into a poster or on future precept/local government reports, to reaches the majority of the public. DP recommended a slogan to leave an imprint in people’s minds. PJ suggested producing a series of short pieces of information spread over an extended period of time to inform people. UO indicated that having a physical interaction between the police and the Community may be the most memorable method, and liaising with leaders in the community would be beneficial for developing trust and confidence.
Ethical Dilemmas and Complaints
DT provide attendees with a current ethical dilemma for advisors consideration. The dilemma focused on the tensions when there are disagreements between the Police’s assessment of how to keep someone safe, and that of medical professionals. Police officers and staff routinely are engaged with ‘medical’ demand (including mental health) – from attending incidents where a member of the public is injured or requires other medical support. SECAmb have recently produced draft guidance for Surrey and Sussex Police when they are in contact with a person that has an apparent acute medical problem or injury. They have developed a flowchart to direct officers with rapid decision making in the event of an incident requiring medical assistance – before they will deploy an ambulance, they will conduct a telephone triage assessment with officers. The tension may occur if the officer’s assessment at the scene contrasts with the medical advice provided over the phone. DT gave a scenario of Police attending an incident at 2am in the morning, an individual has a medical condition (injury). SECAMB have been called, the telephone triage assessment determines ambulance not required and patient to be advised to get themselves to get to A&E. Officers are concerned about the individuals' welfare. What should they do? In addition, if police leave the scene and the person deteriorates or something bad happens to them- are the police responsible?
Advisors thank DT for the presentation. JR suggested with visible injuries it should be easy to identify the genuine needs. Advisors asked where does liability formally sit should the individual deteriorate, or something happens to them once the Police have left. There was a recognition that Police were also under pressure of high demands and this was more about managing risk – if in doubt they should follow their intuition. Advisors indicated this would be challenging to take direction via the phone if the view at the scene suggested the person needed hospital treatment, and that many of them would not want to have to make a judgement. Another suggestion was for volunteer medical professionals to patrol with Police, this may improve decision making and reduce risk.
EDLR gave a presentation of Hate Crime reported in Sussex, including a timeline of significant national events that appeared to impact increases in hate over the last few years; including the EU referendum and the murder of Jo Cox murder. The presentation also indicated that seasonal trends could be seen within reported data; every year a large volume of hate crime occurs in June and July, possible reasons for this included hot weather and alcohol consumption, and major sporting events. EDLR explained that there had been an increase across all hate strands, the largest percentage increase being religious and anti-trans, and the largest actual volume was for Race hate. EDLR added that districts with the largest increase in hate crime volume were Brighton Central (68%), Crawley (56%), and Hastings (59%). Brighton Central had a larger than usual amount of Sexual Orientation motivated crime in July and August, Crawley and Hastings both had increasing volumes of Race hate crimes. ER outlined crime reporting process and the victim support provided, and asked for advisors views about what Sussex Police could do to encourage more reporting and to maintain public confidence and support for prosecutions. Sussex Police
Advisors thank EDLR for the presentation and shared views on why some victims don’t report hate crime; that some may not wish to relive their experience, or attend court – and that it’s a lengthy process from experiencing hate, to seeing a prosecution. UO said there were feelings within communities that the increase in reporting hasn’t led to an increase in charges, and that people need to see action or understated why none was taken, otherwise public trust will decline if people feel that the Police are not taking effective steps to tackle perpetrators. JR added that this had been discussed at the Trans ERG, attended by CPS, and members actively encouraged and supported victims to report Hate crime. EDLR confirmed that for a hate crime to be progressed to court there needs to be sufficient evidence indicating the suspect committed the crime. For instances such as verbal assault where the suspect has then fled, it would be difficult to identify them and prosecute. Advisors suggested producing a simplified guide explaining the reporting process – this would ensure people knew the steps involved as a victim and importantly the types of evidence Police and CPS require to progress a charging decision. DP added that the hate crime experienced within the LGBT community was underestimated, as there is historically a lack of trust between the community and the police. DP suggested to engage more regularly between police and local communities to improve or create trust.
6. Force Update
AR updated on the current challenge to recruit 250 officers, indicating this could mean up to over 400 officers in total over the next four years. Recognising the risks of a workforce force with a large number of inexperienced colleagues will put pressure on officers to support and train new recruits, and also the opportunity this brings to improve the diversity of the workforce. AR also explained there would be an increase in the number of detectives, with the next campaign due to open very soon. AR provided an overview of findings from the most recent Employee Opinion Survey; one of the key issues raised was around colleagues’ sleep patterns. There was work being developed to understand the issue more clearly and explore support mechanisms to address the issues.
IAG Event-November was attended by over 65 advisors. DCC Shiner has decided this should become a more frequent event, with the next scheduled for summer 2020.
Next Meeting 14 April 2020 at 16:00- 18:00 (Members only – 15:00)
Equality Champions, senior police officers and police staff, ensure the Force is well positioned to identify national good practice together with policy and legislative developments at the earliest possible stage.
The Equality Champions make a positive contribution through organisational and community reference groups, where views can be aired on how service delivery and employment policy impacts in practice. The feedback from the numerous groups now follows a clearly defined road map which, as intended from the outset, enables our key decision makers to respond to issues drawn to their attention by the Equality Champions.
We have recently introduced a new Identity Based Mentoring scheme which will enable Sussex Police officers and staff to request a mentor based on a shared identity.
Pregnancy and Maternity
Religion or belief
The scheme is open to anyone in the Force and will be running alongside the existing Mentoring Scheme. Its aim will be to support staff with career progression and personal growth. In addition it will enable them to receive guidance and encouragement from a mentor who shares one or more of the characteristics.
Workforce Diversity data
This report provides a written description of the headline data in Sussex Police’s Diversity Dashboard, which illustrates demographics across the workforce as of September 2021.
Workforce ‘diversity data’ or ‘equality monitoring data’ refers to the information employees provide to their employer regarding aspects of their identity; typically this includes categories such as Age, Disability, Sex, Gender, Ethnicity, Faith, and Sexual Orientation.
Sussex Police recognises that a balanced and diverse workforce produces better results and believes in giving everybody the opportunity to maximise their potential. It is really important for Sussex Police to understand the demographics of our workforce, so that we can understand how representative we are of the communities we serve, and how we can support the diverse needs of colleagues. Having a police force that reflects the community it serves also helps to ensure greater integration and engagement, resulting in enhanced trust and confidence.
An individual’s diversity data is typically captured at the application stage for when people join the organisation. This information is stored on a secure system, which colleagues are encouraged to update routinely, recognising that individual circumstances can change, as well as preferences on sharing personal information.
In addition to publishing annual workforce data, capturing diversity information can facilitate effective priority setting by monitoring protected characteristics, for example in recruitment, retention, progression, pay, grievances and overall workforce representation.
Participation and disclosure rates
Diversity data is captured for Disability, Ethnicity, Faith and Belief, Sex, Gender identity and Sexual Orientation. Colleagues are invited to share their personal information for all questions, this includes an option for preferring not to say. Prefer not to say is recognised as a valid response code; indicating an individual has participated in the process of reviewing or updating their diversity data however, chosen not to disclose. Not disclosed, indicates where a colleague has not selected a valid response code for a specific question, or has not engaged in the process to update their information.
Sussex Police’s recruitment process requests applicants to complete diversity data, during the application stage. For colleagues already in the organisation, Sussex Police Chief Officers routinely publish invites and requests to share diversity data, promoting the objectives and importance of doing so.
The Diversity Force overview PDF document provides a detailed breakdown by role and distribution across departments and teams. What follows is a summary of the headline demographic data.
Headline data by demographics
As of September 2021, Sussex Police comprised 2985 Police Officers and 2621 Police Staff, totalling 5606 people.
Ethnicity: 3.4% or 103 Police Officers identified as either Black, Asian or from a minority ethnic background. 2703 identified as White. 96 selected Prefer not to say and 83 did not disclose. For Police Staff, 2.2% or 58 identified as either Black, Asian or from a minority ethnic background. 2356 identified as White. 59 selected Prefer not to say and 148 did not disclose.
Sex and Gender: 35.7% or 1066 Police Officers identified as Female and 1919 identified as Male. For Police Staff, 60.9% or 1596 identified as Female and 1025 identified as Male. For gender identity, 16 colleagues identified as Trans, 1 as Non Binary, 40 as ‘Other’ and 195 Prefer not to say. 1252 did not disclose their gender identity.
Religion: For Police Officers, 12 identified as Buddhist, 824 as Christian, 7 as Hindu, 7 as Jewish, 14 as Muslim, 62 as ‘Other’ and 1123 as none. 205 answered Prefer not to say and 731 did not disclose. For Police Staff, 9 identified as Buddhist, 869 as Christian, 5 as Hindu, 4 as Jewish, 11 as Muslim, 2 as Sikh, 85 as ‘Other’ and 1105 as not having a religion. 125 answered Prefer not to say and 406 did not disclose.
Age: For Police Officers. 177 as 16-24, 756 as 25-34, 1152 as 35-44, 816 as 45-54 and 84 as 55-64. For Police Staff 169 as 16-24, 626 as 25-34, 530 as 35-44, 665 as 45-54, 574 as 55-64 and 57 as 65 years and over.
Disability: 7% or 208 Police Officers identified as having a Disability, 105 Prefer not to say and 814 did not disclose. For Police Staff, 7.7% or 201 identified as having a Disability, 50 Prefer not to say and 420 did not disclose.
Sexual Orientation: For Police Officers, 70 identified as Bisexual, 153 as Gay or Lesbian, 1877 as Heterosexual, 6 as ‘Other’, 175 Prefer not to say and 704 did not disclose. For Police Staff, 41 identified as Bisexual, 110 as Gay or Lesbian, 1946 as Heterosexual, 4 as ‘Other’, 105 Prefer not to say and 415 did not disclose.
We produce an annual dashboard which details the diversity breakdown of our staff and officers. You can view the latest version here.