West Mercia PEEL 2016
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
West Mercia Police is good in how efficient it is at keeping people safe and reducing crime. The force has a comprehensive understanding of its current and likely future demand and makes use of a range of demand tools; there are also plans to introduce predictive analytics. The force uses its resources to manage demand well and is changing the composition of the workforce to meet the challenges of the future. The force is working towards establishing a new operating model which is part of its Vision 2020 plan for the future. The force’s change programme is robust and subject to external oversight, and the force is making good use of commercial partners to bring specialist skills and expertise to deliver Vision 2020.
The force has a strategic alliance with Warwickshire Police (the alliance), whereby all posts below deputy chief constable are shared. Both forces share a single vision and set of values and work to a harmonised set of policies. As a result, practice and procedures should be the same in both forces, and, in this inspection, HMIC found that to be the case. Therefore, save for specific localised examples, all references to the force can be read as applying equally to the alliance.
The force is good at understanding the current and likely future demand for its services. Its intelligence analysis supports the daily management meeting and extensive demand analysis has led to changes to the composition of the workforce. This ensures that resources are aligned to the areas of greatest need. The force intends to refine this understanding by recruiting an analyst to record real-time demand data from all of the force’s ICT systems. It has also carried out further research to deepen its understanding of secondary demand, for example the time invested in the investigation of offences.
The force is good at using its resources to manage current demand. The force’s priorities are identified in a forward-looking strategic assessment, and an accompanying control strategy ensures that they are properly resourced.
The force’s people strategy outlines how it plans to establish and maintain the correct blend of skills and experience in the workforce; this is managed through the monthly workforce management group (WMG). The WMG has recently undertaken a comprehensive skills assessment as part of this programme.
The alliance between West Mercia Police and Warwickshire Police is more extensive than any other that is unique in the police service. The force also collaborates with five partner organisations in the unique Place Partnership Limited (PPL). PPL is an ambitious joint venture involving the sharing of estates and facilities management. This collaboration aims to save £58m over ten years through the sharing of services and realise disposal receipts of around £100m through the sale of obsolete buildings.
The force has a well-established change programme which uses a dashboard to track project benefits and is clearly linked to the force’s medium-term financial plan (MTFP).
The force is good at planning for demand in the future. It has used extensive demand analysis to inform Vision 2020, which includes technological advances, notably a significant upgrade of the ICT operating platform. The force is seeking to appoint external partner organisations with expertise in transformational change to lead change and has commissioned consultants to advise on the ICT developments.
The MTFP is prudent and includes a credible programme to balance the budget, including some use of reserves. The force is investing in capital projects, such as the redesign of control rooms, to make savings. The exact scale of the anticipated savings has yet to be determined.
How well does the force understand the current and likely future demand?
HMIC found that the force is good at understanding its current and likely future demand. This understanding is based on extensive research at the time when West Mercia and Warwickshire Police first formed the alliance. The force has developed this by analysing less obvious areas of demand, such as work with social services and other organisations to support children at risk and victims of domestic abuse. This now forms the basis of the new operating model to be introduced as part of Vision 2020. The force has agile processes in place to identify changing crime patterns and other areas of demands on its resources, which means that resources are aligned to the areas of most pressing need.
A clear governance structure, supported by regular forward planning, ensures the force can address longer-term demand pressures. This is informed by historic statistical trend analysis and also predictive analytics to strengthen the alliance’s capability in this regard.
The force has produced detailed profiles of new and emerging crimes such as modern slavery, human trafficking and so-called honour-based violence. These profiles have associated plans to escalate and prioritise activity should there be intelligence of this type of crime being committed. The force has also developed a network of subject-matter experts should large-scale investigations of this nature be necessary.
The force will very soon be introducing a new ICT operating platform; it is using this opportunity to be at the leading edge of technological advances in digital policing. This includes the introduction of a digital repository hub which will allow the force to obtain maximum benefit from the use of body-worn video cameras, CCTV evidence and the digital presentation of evidence in prosecutions. Additionally, the blueprint for new control rooms will transform customer access to the force through online services; it will also automate the allocation of resources to incidents and tasks that need to be completed.
How well does the force use its resources to manage current demand?
The force is good at using its resources to manage current demand. It has changed how it provides resources to 999 and 101 calls and the investigation of crime by making assessments based on the needs of victims. This has produced advantages in ensuring that the service provided is in line with individual need and that the overall capacity of the force to manage demand can keep pace with anticipated increases in demand for its services.
The force has a clear vision of the level and quality of service it provides; this is evident in the new investigative model. Evaluations of the model have shown that it is providing a better service to victims at the same time as ensuring that workloads are manageable.
The people strategy outlines how the force will establish and maintain a workforce with the right blend of skills and experience to support Vision 2020. Governance of the people strategy is provided through the monthly workforce management group. The force has recently completed a comprehensive skills assessment which forms the baseline to develop the workforce requirements of Vision 2020.
The unique status of the alliance has formed a solid base to ensure that policing services are equipped to deal with increasing demand and budgetary constraints. Building on this success, the force is also collaborating with other public sector services in the Place Partnership Limited. This is designed to increase the joint occupation of premises and the sharing of services with other organisations in the interests of efficiency.
The force has a well-established change programme and tracks project benefits linked to the force’s financial plan. It can swiftly assess the impact of changes made across different areas of the organisation through a well-resourced change hub. The force plans to appoint an external commercial partner to support change over the coming years.
How well is the force planning for demand in the future?
The force is good at planning for demand in the future. It has used extensive demand analysis to inform its future workforce model and the workforce management group is steadily developing a workforce to support it. The plan for the Vision 2020 operating model in the alliance is credible and built on sound planning assumptions, and the change programme which is in place to achieve the vision is subject to firm governance and independent scrutiny arrangements. The force is to appoint an external commercial partner to lead the change programme and has commissioned specialist commercial advice on the required ICT architecture.
The medium-term financial plan is prudent and includes a number of measures to balance the budget, including the use of some reserves. The force is investing in capital projects such as the redesign of control rooms to make savings; the anticipated amount of these savings has yet to be calculated. The force benefits from joint-working arrangements, such as the innovative Place Partnership Limited. It also has plans to share more facilities and develop closer joint operational working with the fire and rescue service.