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Essex PEEL 2016

Efficiency

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

Last updated 03/11/2016
Good

Essex Police has been assessed as good in respect of the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. The force has a detailed understanding of the demand on its services and is evaluating how demand may change in the future. It has improved how it uses its resources to manage current demand since last year, but the force could still do more. Essex Police has a good track record of delivering savings. It has an ambitious financial plan that should lead to savings and greater efficiency, while also improving services. In last year’s efficiency inspection, Essex Police was judged to be good.

Essex Police has maintained its efficiency in keeping people safe and reducing crime since HMIC’s inspection in 2015. The force is good at understanding current demand through using an extensive range of management information. Its recent comprehensive mapping exercise to identify all current demand allows future demand to be modelled, based on local and national crime trends. The force has also developed a sophisticated understanding of new, emerging and hidden demand, including cybercrime, hate crime and female genital mutilation. It has developed a new strategy for tackling digital crime and is looking into disability hate crime and hate crime in sport.

The force is working with the children’s charity Barnardo’s and local authorities to improve the identification and reporting of female genital mutilation. It is making good progress in evaluating likely future demand and the impact, scale and likelihood of future risk, and is working closely with partner organisations to understand how reducing resources may affect services and what action should be taken.

Essex Police is also good at making sure it has the right number of properly trained officers and staff in the right place to provide an effective service to the public. The force regularly looks for ways to identify inefficient activities and its transformation programme uses demand and process mapping to identify and resolve such inefficiencies. It has mature and effective processes to assess the cost of services in relation to the quality and level of outcomes.

The force has improved its management of demand since HMIC’s 2015 inspection, with good reductions in unresolved open incidents and suspects who have yet to be investigated, but needs to do more. It does have a comprehensive understanding of workforce skills. The force’s detective capacity and capability was found to be low in last year’s inspection and is now improving. Essex Police has an extensive, mature and expanding collaboration with Kent Police and they have ambitious joint plans for mobile devices later in 2016.

Essex Police is also good at planning for future demand. Its plans are ambitious but credible and realistic, and are informed by a good understanding of the force’s future challenges. The medium-term financial plan is based on realistic and prudent assumptions about future income, costs and benefits and it links to the workforce plan and planned increase in digital capabilities. Future investment plans are designed to achieve greater efficiency and service improvement.

The force has a good track record of delivering savings, despite being one of the lowest-funded forces. It has an ambitious plan to 2019/20 to deliver savings of £43.9m across a wide range of budgets, but mainly in the back and middle office functions. It is also aiming to realise major savings through changes to its estate. Essex Police has a strong track record of joint working, primarily with Kent Police but also as part of a seven-force strategic collaboration that seeks to find efficiencies in operational, middle office and support services. The force is also part of the Athena programme, in which nine forces have jointly obtained a new integrated single policing system . If the force successfully implements all of its plans, it will have a solid and sustainable base for the future.

Questions for Efficiency

1

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

Essex Police is good at understanding its current and likely future demand. It has a detailed understanding of the full range of demand based on an extensive range of management information. The force has recently undertaken a comprehensive mapping exercise to identify all current demand (reactive, investigative and preventative) and predict (using software models) this demand into the future, based on local and national crime trends. It also has developed a sophisticated understanding of new, emerging and hidden demand.

The force regularly and effectively challenges itself to identify inefficient activities. Its transformation programme team uses demand and process mapping to identify and resolve such inefficiencies. Good progress is being made to evaluate likely future demand and develop its understanding of the impact, scale and likelihood of future risk. It is working closely with partners to understand the impact of reducing resources and the potential impact on services, and take action. This means that Essex Police is well placed to match its plans to current and future demand in the most effective manner possible.

Good
2

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

Essex Police is good at matching resource to current demand. It has mature and effective processes to assess the cost of services in relation to the quality and level of outcomes. The force has improved its management of demand since HMIC’s 2015 inspection, with reductions in unresolved open incidents, and suspects still to be investigated. However, the numbers of both are still too high and more needs to be done to reduce them and keep them at more appropriate levels to minimise any risk to the public. However, the force does have a comprehensive understanding of workforce skills and the impact on capacity and capability. The detective capacity and capability of the force which was identified as low in last year’s inspection, continues to improve.

Essex Police has demonstrated a strong commitment to joint working over a number of years; the force’s collaboration with Kent Police is extensive, mature and expanding, and the two forces have ambitious joint plans for mobile devices later in 2016. Wider collaboration is evident through its membership of the seven force strategic collaboration programme, the Athena programme and with partners through a variety of programmes and activities. This means that the force is well placed to match its resource to current and likely future demand, and to make the most of technological opportunities and efficiencies in the future.

Good
3

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

Essex Police is good at planning for future demand and its plans are ambitious but credible and realistic, yet while they are informed by a good understanding of its future challenges they are not without risk. The capital investment programme is heavily reliant upon the successful downsizing and disposal of the force’s estate and as such the successful implementation of its plans will be challenging. The medium term financial plan is based on realistic and prudent assumptions about future income, costs and benefits and it links to the workforce plan and planned increase in digital capabilities. Future investment plans are designed to achieve greater efficiency and service improvement.

Essex has a good track record of delivering savings, despite being one of the lowest-funded forces. There is an ambitious plan to 2019/20 to achieve a further savings requirement of £34.9m across a wide range of budgets, but mainly in the back and middle office functions. It is also aiming to realise major savings though changes to its estate. Essex Police has a strong track record of joint working, primarily with Kent Police but also as part of the seven-force strategic collaboration. If the force successfully implements all of its plans, it will have a solid and sustainable financial base for the future.

Good