Derbyshire PEEL 2017
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Derbyshire Constabulary is judged to be good in the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. Our overall judgment this year is the same as last year. The force has maintained a good understanding of demand, its use of resources to manage demand is judged to be good and its planning for future demand is also judged to be good.
Derbyshire Constabulary has developed a good understanding of the demand for its services after carrying out detailed research and analysis. The force is responding to changes in demand by allocating additional staff to more complex, hidden and new types of demand, such as modern slavery, cyber-crime and child sexual exploitation. Its local and force-level performance management boards will continue to monitor trends in demand and improve the sophistication of its ability to predict future demand.
The force is good at understanding things that affect demand and identifies ways to improve efficiency. For example, it is making changes to further improve its call management scheduled appointment system and has introduced new IT systems such as smart phones for all frontline staff. The force also realises that demand can be reduced or prevented by working closely with other emergency services and public organisations, and has a strong commitment to joint working.
The force is improving its understanding of its workforce’s skills. It is proactive in developing its workforce, for example ensuring their IT skills were upgraded before new systems were introduced. The new leadership framework will expand the information held on leaders beyond their completed role-specific training and operational competence; expectations of leaders are now based on a set of core values rather than competencies. The force aims to open career pathways to all of the workforce, explore new ways of recruiting police officers and specialist staff, and nurture talent.
Derbyshire Constabulary has realistic financial plans for the future that are built on sound assumptions and are subject to informed challenge. Its plans include a further IT upgrade, joint training facilities with the fire and rescue service and wider estate remedial work. Although it has no current plans for savings, the force is confident it can achieve additional savings if needed.
How well does the force understand demand?
Derbyshire Constabulary has developed a good understanding of the demand for its services after carrying out detailed research and analysis in 2016. It used a broad evidence base and gathered four years of data that was also analysed by external experts. The force is improving its understanding of, and allocating more staff to, more complex, hidden and new types of demand, such as modern slavery and human trafficking, cyber-crime, child sexual exploitation and so-called ‘honour-based’ violence.
The force is good at understanding things that affect demand and identifies ways to improve efficiency. It has recognised how its management of calls for service, involving its scheduled appointment system for non-urgent incidents, can be improved further with no detrimental effect on the quality of service. In response, the force plans to pilot a new approach that will reduce demand on its frontline staff while increasing the availability of face-to-face appointments for those who need them. New IT systems have enabled staff to work more efficiently, particularly the smart phones issued to all frontline staff.
Derbyshire Constabulary has a positive approach to managing demand and realises that demand on its own services can be reduced or prevented by working closely with other emergency services and public service organisations at the stage of receiving the initial call.
Leaders within the force actively encourage the workforce to contribute new ideas. The deputy chief constable leads a learning the lessons board, where organisational feedback can be discussed. A futures team seeks best practice within the force and externally; it also investigates what changes in policing or society may occur that will require further innovation from the force.
How well does the force use its resources?
Derbyshire Constabulary currently has a basic understanding of its workforce’s skills, only holding records of the workforce’s operational or role-specific training. However, in 2017 it is also collecting data on language skills and educational attainment as part of a wider programme to increase its depth of knowledge. The force has been proactive in developing its workforce in advance of improvements to its IT systems and provided a major training programme to upgrade their technical skills. It is also fully committed to maintaining and developing workforce skills to meet the constantly evolving threat from criminal use of firearms.
The force has also taken steps to understand fully the skills that are required of leaders. Its expectations of its leaders are now based on a set of core values rather than a standard set of competencies. The new leadership framework will expand the information held on leaders beyond their completed role-specific training and operational competence.
The force’s new operating model addresses the need to balance a reduced budget with meeting demand in areas that present the highest risk to the public, helping it to work more efficiently with better technology. For example, after a detailed review of call-handling, the force introduced a revised shift pattern for its call handlers to reflect operational needs and improve service to the public. The force is also investing in a new digital telephone system and increasing the functionality of its website to provide immediate, non-emergency advice, which will be led by a senior officer and an experienced specialist.
Derbyshire Constabulary has a strong, long-term commitment to working with local councils, other emergency services and volunteer organisations and understands the benefits to be gained from joint working. The force collaborates with other forces on counter-terrorism, serious and organised crime, forensic services, occupational health support and learning and development services. It is involved in two local multi-agency safeguarding hubs and has a mental health professional within its call-handling centre. Senior leaders are keen to learn from other organisations and encourage new ideas from the workforce.
How well is the force planning for demand in the future?
Derbyshire Constabulary has been thorough in its assessment of current crime and incident data and results of research on demand in previous years, which it has used in its revised force-level strategic threat and risk assessment. It has identified the increase of online criminal activity, reports of abuse against vulnerable people, organised immigration crime and modern slavery. The force’s local and force-level performance management boards will continue to monitor trends in demand, but while the new operating model and IT systems are being established, it has quite reasonably prioritised meeting current demand and will develop its sophistication of predicting future demand later in 2017.
The force has a clear vision of the skills it needs from its leaders, both now and in the future. It has adopted a new leadership framework to support the development of its current leaders and how leaders will be identified and selected in the future. The force has made recent promotions on the basis of candidates’ working style and leadership skills rather than on their previous role or operational skills. This should build resilience among leaders, ease succession planning and demonstrate that leadership is a valued and transferable skill. The force has open and accessible talent management schemes and secondments for staff between departments. It has also improved its approach to identifying and recruiting external talent.
Derbyshire Constabulary has made significant investment in its IT infrastructure and systems to support more efficient working and has allocated staff to the areas of highest risk, such as public protection. The force has realistic financial plans for the future that are built on sound planning assumptions and are subject to informed challenge. Its plans include a further IT upgrade, joint training facilities with the fire and rescue service and wider remedial work to the estate. It has a good record of achieving saving and, although it has no current plans for savings, the force is confident it can achieve additional savings if needed.