Skip to content

Cambridgeshire PEEL 2016

Efficiency

How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?

Last updated 03/11/2016
Requires improvement

Cambridgeshire Constabulary has been assessed as requires improvement in respect of the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime.

The force recognises it needs to improve its understanding of demand on its services and is already taking appropriate action. It is good at using its resources to meet demand and works well with other forces and partner organisations to improve efficiency and make savings. However, overall it needs to do more to fully understand demand and to plan for demand in the future. The force is already taking the right steps to address these issues. In last year’s efficiency inspection, Cambridgeshire Constabulary was judged to be good.

Cambridgeshire Constabulary requires improvement in its understanding of current and likely future demand on its services and it recognises that it needs to improve in this area. The force has explored good practice nationally and worked with the College of Policing to improve its approach. HMIC has seen some positive progress, but more work is needed.

The force acknowledges it could do more to understand where inefficient internal processes are leading to unnecessary demand on police time and resources. It is reviewing its governance processes to identify how it can reduce this unnecessary internal demand. It is also making progress in better understanding those demands that are less likely to be reported. The force is at an early stage in developing its understanding of likely future demand. In a strategic alliance with Hertfordshire Constabulary and Bedfordshire Police, the tri-force ‘futures team’ has undertaken research to explore options for effective policing in the future. There are some good examples of Cambridgeshire Constabulary working with local partner organisations to co-ordinate joint planning and activity in order to understand and manage both current and likely future demands.

Cambridgeshire Constabulary is good at using its resources to manage current demand. It has recently invested additional resources in areas of increasing demand, such as the public protection directorate, to increase its capacity to investigate serious sexual offences and safeguard vulnerable children and adults.

The force has a strong commitment to joint working, which is clearly demonstrated by its mature and well-established collaborative work with Hertfordshire Constabulary and Bedfordshire Police. Cambridgeshire, together with its strategic alliance partners, has a very strong track record of joint working arrangements that bring about efficiencies. It has considered a range of collaborative approaches to maximise purchasing power, increase ICT inter-operability and share systems and infrastructure. The forces in this strategic alliance have an ambitious and innovative plan to work collaboratively in up to 50 percent of all policing functions, excluding local policing, by 2017. Further collaborative working is planned with four other forces and Cambridgeshire is also developing strategic partnerships with other emergency services and local government organisations to share resources and manage future demand together.

Cambridgeshire Constabulary requires improvement in the way it is planning for demand in the future. The lack of a comprehensive understanding of future demand and workforce capabilities limits its ability to plan for the future. The force does make prudent assumptions about future income and costs. It also has a successful track record over recent years of managing change and making the savings required. However, despite better than anticipated government grant for policing in 2016/17, the force still faces shortfalls in its budget every year until 2019/20. The force does not yet have detailed plans in place to assure itself that sufficient sustainable savings can be found.

It has given some consideration to how its future workforce and ICT capabilities will integrate. However, the ICT strategy for collaborative working is not yet aligned with workforce and service plans. Therefore, while HMIC found evidence that it is enabling the force to both do things it is already doing more efficiently and to improve the way it provides a service, this is not yet clearly understood by the force.

Overall, this means that the force is not in the position it was in 2015, when HMIC assessed its efficiency at keeping people safe and reducing crime as good, and it now requires improvement.

Questions for Efficiency

1

How well does the force understand the current and likely future demand?

Cambridgeshire Constabulary requires improvement in its understanding of current and likely future demand on its services. It fully recognises that it needs to improve in this area and some positive progress is evident but more work is needed.

The force is committed to developing a more sophisticated understanding of all sources of current demand. It recognises that this is an area for improvement and it has dedicated resources to make further progress, but more work is needed.

The force has explored good practice nationally and worked with the College of Policing to improve its approach.

The force also recognises it could do more to understand where inefficient internal processes are leading to unnecessary demand on police time and resources. It is reviewing its governance processes to identify how it can reduce this unnecessary internal demand. It is also making progress in better understanding those demands that are less likely to be reported.

The force is at an early stage in developing its understanding of likely future demand. In conjunction with Bedfordshire Police and Hertfordshire Constabulary, the tri-force ‘futures project team’ has undertaken research to explore a range of options open to the three forces to provide effective policing in the future. This research proposed a model weighting future change in favour of joint working with blue light service providers and local authorities within existing county boundaries.

There are some good examples of Cambridgeshire Constabulary working with local partner organisations to co-ordinate joint planning and activity in order to understand and manage both current and likely future demands.

Requires improvement

Areas for improvement

  • Cambridgeshire Constabulary should develop its understanding of current and likely future demand, ensuring that it has analysed appropriate information and intelligence from wider sources.
  • Cambridgeshire Constabulary should ensure its understanding of the demand for its services and the expectations of the public are up to date by regularly reviewing its evidence base. This should be conducted alongside local authorities, other emergency services and partner organisations, to ensure that the force takes the necessary steps to meet current and likely future demand, including hidden demand.
2

How well does the force use its resources to manage current demand?

Cambridgeshire Constabulary is good at using its resources to manage current demand. It recognises the importance of continuing to improve its understanding of this demand and it is taking steps to do so, it has invested additional resources recently into areas of increasing demand such as the public protection department to increase the capacity to investigate serious sexual offences and safeguard vulnerable children and adults.

The force is strongly committed to joint working and this is demonstrated clearly by the mature and well-established collaborative work with its strategic alliance partners, Hertfordshire Constabulary and Bedfordshire Police. It aims to extend this partnership working further with a total of seven forces. It also works well with local partner organisations and is actively developing its joint working arrangements with blue-light and local authorities across Cambridgeshire.

While Cambridgeshire Constabulary can demonstrate how collaborative working is improving outcomes for the public, reducing costs and building resilience, it does not yet have a comprehensive understanding of its final costs. This is also true for all of the strategic alliance partners. However, the force is committed to making sure that the costs are fully understood and that it dedicates resources to develop this understanding further.

Good

Areas for improvement

  • Cambridgeshire Constabulary should ensure that it has adequate plans in place to show it can provide deliver services, while also making the necessary cost savings.
  • Cambridgeshire Constabulary should undertake appropriate activities to fully understand its workforce’s capabilities, in order to identify any gaps and put plans in place to address them. This will enable the force to be confident in its ability to meet current and likely future demand more efficiently. This work should be completed as part of the strategic alliance partnership work.
3

How well is the force planning for demand in the future?

Cambridgeshire Constabulary requires improvement in the way it is planning for demand in the future. The force faces some future financial risk and uncertainty; and the lack of a comprehensive understanding of future demand and workforce capabilities limits its ability to plan for the future.

The force does make prudent assumptions about future income and costs, and has a successful track record in managing change and making the savings required over recent years. However, despite receiving a better than anticipated government grant for policing in 2016/17, the force is still facing shortfalls in its budget every year until 2019/20. The force has plans in place to make some, but not all of the required savings from a combination of local and collaborative programmes, and is intending to use reserves to bridge the gap until sustainable savings can be found. The force’s future plans anticipate that spending will be reduced by the required amount to balance the budget over this period as a result of additional savings from extending collaboration.

The force has considered how its future workforce and ICT capabilities will integrate. However, the ICT strategy for collaborative working is not yet aligned with workforce and service plans. Therefore, while HMIC found evidence that it is enabling the force to both do things it is already doing more efficiently and to improve the way it provides a service, this is not yet clearly understood by the force.

Cambridgeshire, together with its strategic alliance partners, has a strong track record of joint working arrangements that bring about efficiencies, although not all of the cost benefits are fully understood. It has considered a range of approaches working collaboratively to maximise purchasing power, increase ICT inter-operability and share systems and infrastructure. The alliance forces have an ambitious and innovative plan to work collaboratively in up to 50 percent of all policing functions across the whole alliance, other than providing local policing, by 2017. Cambridgeshire is also developing long-term partnership working with other emergency services and local government to share resources and manage future demand together.

Requires improvement

Areas for improvement

  • Cambridgeshire Constabulary should develop its workforce plans to identify fully its future workforce capabilities and align improved analysis of future demand and emerging priorities. This should ensure that the force has a comprehensive medium to long term plan to respond effectively and efficiently to future demand. This work should be completed as part of the strategic alliance partnership work.