Police has welcomed today’s report into Police culture by the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) as providing a deeper understanding of where the organisation needs to focus its efforts in its drive to make Police a better place to work.
“A positive culture is fundamental to effective policing. How Police staff work with each other, and how we support one another impacts on how we serve the public,” Commissioner Andrew Coster said.
“We know we can do better. Over the past 12 months we have been working to tackle the negative cultural elements highlighted in the report. I am pleased that the Authority has endorsed our progress and that it fully supports our overall intent and direction,” he said.
“The Authority notes that bullying and other related behaviours are not pervasive in Police and are confined to “pockets” in the organisation.
However, I am clear that the negative behaviours described in the report have absolutely no place in Police. We are committed to ensuring every Police employee can go to work each day in an environment that supports them to be and do their best,” Commissioner Coster said.
The IPCA initiated the investigation into Police culture in 2019, following media reports of allegations of bullying and other behaviours. The report released today is based on information from more than 200 former and current staff. To support the investigation, Police and IPCA also commissioned a nationwide staff culture survey.
Police has also commissioned an independent review of its systems and processes for responding to bullying and harassment – the Francis Review.
On the basis of its recommendations, released in March 2020, the Commissioner initiated a major change process. Many of the issues highlighted in today’s IPCA report are being addressed as part of the strategy and action plan developed in response to the Frances Review, Commissioner Coster said.
“We know that effective leadership is critical to achieving a positive, healthy workplace culture. To address concerns about favouritism in our appointment processes, we have introduced a fairer, more transparent system based on merit and people’s personal attributes.
“We also know that good leaders are made, not born and that just having the technical skills doesn’t always make for a great manager. Our new leadership development programme sets out the behaviours, attributes and competencies we expect of our people leaders, and the importance of more inclusive, compassionate leadership. We are also supporting managers with training in coaching and performance management.”
In February Police introduced a new approach to preventing and responding to bullying and other unacceptable behaviour: Kia Tū: Stand Together.
The approach is more than just a process for reporting poor behaviour. It is based on the principles of restorative justice and gives people choice in how they want to deal with unacceptable behaviour, depending on the seriousness of the concern and the outcome they want.
It also provides for safe and secure disclosure should staff wish to make a formal report.
A national network of trained and qualified Wellness Advisors is available to support everyone involved in the resolution process.
“The Authority has acknowledged the progress we are making to transform our culture,” Commissioner Coster said.
“Judging by the results of our staff survey, our people also feel we are heading in the right direction: most respondents agreed Police is a great place to work, and most were comfortable with the workplace culture and felt it is improving.
“Police is committed to continuing to improve the working environment for our people. The Francis Review showed us where we need to improve our systems and processes.
The IPCA report and the findings of the recent staff culture survey have given us a richer understanding of our people’s experience of working in Police and where we need to focus our efforts to ensure our workplaces are safe, inclusive and healthy,” Commissioner Coster said.
Police will work with the Authority to ensure the Action Plan developed in response to Frances Review addresses all the issues raised by today’s report and will report regularly to the IPCA on its implementation.
“We have begun a process to transform our culture and we look forward to working with the Authority on the next steps.”