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Lincolnshire PEEL 2016

Efficiency

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

Last updated 03/11/2016
Good

Lincolnshire Police has been assessed as good in respect of the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. The force provides a good policing service to the communities of Lincolnshire at one of the lowest costs per head of population in England and Wales. It has a small workforce and a high reliance on local funding. It has entered into local partnerships, has outsourced to the private sector, and has undertaken extensive and wide ranging collaborative working. This means it saves money and brings a more efficient approach. HMIC considers that the force has done what can reasonably be expected to be as efficient as possible and yet it still faces an uncertain financial future due to its low funding base. It is likely that there will be service loss or degradation of policing services in Lincolnshire if further reductions are made to the workforce. In last year’s efficiency inspection, Lincolnshire Police was judged to require improvement.

Lincolnshire Police’s understanding of current, hidden and future demand is very good. The force uses a wide range of methods and approaches to understand demand across all areas. It recognises that it still needs to do more to encourage hard-to-reach individuals and groups to come forward. The force has done notable work to understand and to raise awareness of modern-day slavery.

The force uses its resources well to manage current demand, as HMIC also noted in 2015. It has a good understanding of the cost and quality of current service levels. It prioritises resources to meet demand and ensures its workforce has the right skills and capabilities.

The force has done what can be reasonably expected to become efficient and maximise value for money for the taxpayer while also providing an effective policing service to the communities of Lincolnshire. It provides one of the lowest costs per head of population police services in England and Wales in 2015/16, despite the force’s large geographic area and limited funds. It has a small workforce and a high reliance on local funding. It has entered into local partnerships, outsourced to the private sector, and undertaken extensive and wide-ranging collaborative work. This means it saves money and uses a more efficient approach.

However, the force is unlikely to be able to maintain the level of service it provides to the public in future if it has to make further savings by the last option available to it: further reducing frontline police officers and police community support officers (PCSOs). It is likely that there will be service loss or degradation of policing services in Lincolnshire if further reductions are made to the workforce.

Questions for Efficiency

1

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

Lincolnshire Police’s understanding of current demand is very good. To understand demand across all areas, the force uses a wide range of methods and approaches, which have been used to build a new operating model. This has placed the force in a good position to help it respond to current and hidden demands.

The force’s understanding of demand that is less likely to be reported, or ‘hidden demand’, is good and growing. It recognises that it still needs to do more to encourage hard-to-reach individuals and groups to come forward. The force is doing notable work to understand and to raise awareness of modern-day slavery.

The force has a good understanding of the inefficiencies in its own internal processes and how these inefficiencies create demand on the force. It is making progress to improve these processes.

The force’s understanding of emerging or likely future demand for its services is good. There is a good understanding of future demand from current national threats, for example child abuse and cyber-crime as well as emerging demand from sexual violence.

The force’s understanding of the public’s expectations is good, although less so in relation to how these expectations might shape future demand. This is seen as an area for further development. The demand management board is considering how services can change to meet changing public expectations.

Good
2

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

The force uses its resources well to manage current demand. It has a good understanding of the cost and quality of current service levels and it prioritises resources to meet demand.

Last year, the force identified that its operating model did not match the demand it was experiencing or was likely to experience in the future and consequently started to develop new ways of working. The force has undergone significant structural change since 2010. Implementation of the new policing model redirects resources to deal with potential problems before they become critical, rather than being reactive and demand-led.

Some opportunities exist to increase the efficiency of the ways the force provides its services, but it is very unlikely that these alone will identify the savings needed to maintain current service provision. To reduce costs and operate more efficiently, the force has started a priority-based budgeting exercise which will scrutinise the cost of delivering services against the priorities established in the police and crime plan and force strategic threat and risk assessment.

The force has a very good understanding of its workforce’s skills and capabilities. The force’s digital skills and requirements are understood and resourced appropriately.

The force is working well with others to manage demand for services and continues to consider other options for further collaboration. The force is able to demonstrate that its collaboration with others reduces cost, increases resilience and capacity.

Good
3

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

The force has done what can be reasonably expected to become efficient, to maximise value for money for the tax payer while providing an effective policing service to the communities of Lincolnshire. It was one of the lowest cost forces per head of population in England and Wales in 2015/16. It has a small workforce which relies heavily on local funding. It has entered into local partnerships, has outsourced to the private sector, and has undertaken extensive and wide ranging collaborative working. This means it saves money and brings a more efficient approach.

Despite this, the force is unlikely to be able to maintain the level of service it provides to the public in the future if it has to make further savings by the last option available to it; reducing further frontline police officers and PCSOs. It is likely that there will be service loss or degradation of policing services in Lincolnshire if further reductions are made to the workforce.

The force is in this position through no fault of its own, its leadership or that of the newly elected police and crime commissioner. As a low cost force, with many policing functions either outsourced or run in collaboration with either regional forces or local partners, there are very few opportunities available for making further efficiency savings. HMIC has had to judge the force as requiring improvement in terms of its ability to plan for future demand, but recognises that the force has acted responsibly and reasonably in striving to become one of the most efficient and cost effective forces in England and Wales.

The force’s projected workforce model and planned use of assets to match demand and organisational priorities meet future financial requirements but it has made important assumptions about its future police grant settlement in order to balance the budget. The force is developing credible and practical financial and workforce plans built on a realistic assumption that it might receive neither the transitional arrangement funding nor the grant from a new police allocation formula. These contingency plans are subject to sensitivity analysis and scenario planning and result in significant workforce reductions, including police officers. The force is using a priority-based budgeting exercise to model potentially significant service level changes with many services being reduced.

Requires improvement

Areas for improvement

  • Notwithstanding the difficult circumstances, Lincolnshire Police should continue to develop more detailed plans in relation to how it will continue to provide services, with regard to potential changes in future funding arrangements.