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Norfolk PEEL 2017

Efficiency

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

Last updated 09/11/2017
Good

Norfolk Constabulary is judged to be good in the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. Our overall judgment is consistent with last year. The force is judged to be outstanding in its 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.

Norfolk Constabulary has an outstanding understanding of the current and likely future demand for its services, which is based on research and analysis. The force analyses data from public organisations such as local councils, health services and the fire service. The joint performance and analysis department with Suffolk Constabulary does high-quality, innovative work, supported by robust academic research and scrutiny. The force has a good understanding of more complex and hidden demands (such as modern slavery and so-called honour-based violence) and has analysed demand which can be prevented or responded to by a more appropriate agency.

The force has effective processes to manage, prioritise and filter demand. Its contact and control room has impressive arrangements in place to ensure that structured assessment is used to manage demand. It is trialling a new district triage team to manage calls from the public which do not require an immediate police response, and is proposing two investigation hubs to group its specialist resources to increase its flexibility.

Norfolk Constabulary has an impressive range of working arrangements with other police forces and external organisations to help save money and improve the services it provides. For example, it has collaborated with Suffolk Constabulary on a revised ICT strategy and is sharing a number of premises with Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service. The force has a culture of innovation and continuous improvement, led by the chief constable and supported by senior leaders, and it encourages its workforce to suggest new ideas.

The force has a good understanding of the current skills and leadership capabilities of its police officers, but now needs to develop a similar understanding for its police staff. The force could do more to understand fully what skills it needs in its leaders now and in the future. It uses the annual staff appraisal and continued professional development plans to identify the development needs of both officers and staff, and is seeking new talent from outside the force.

Norfolk Constabulary has a good record of making necessary savings. The force seeks to identify inefficient processes, and has robust quality assurance mechanisms to ensure that its efforts to achieve efficiency do not lead to demand being suppressed. It engaged external consultants to help develop a new approach to allocating money internally, called outcome-based budgeting, which gives it a better understanding of how it uses its resources and what is achieved as a result. Its plans for the future appear to be realistic and achievable, although it realises that making the required savings will be difficult.

Questions for Efficiency

1

How well does the force understand demand?

Norfolk Constabulary is outstanding in how it evaluates current demand for its services. It uses data sets from other public organisations such as local councils, health services and the fire service to inform its assessments. Analysis is undertaken by the joint performance and analysis department with Suffolk Constabulary, which does high-quality, innovative work, supported by robust academic research and scrutiny. The force is able to anticipate fluctuations in demand throughout the year, and has undertaken research to project future demand in the longer term. It has also undertaken analysis on demand which can be prevented or responded to by a more appropriate agency. The force has a good understanding of more complex and hidden demands for its services.

The force has effective arrangements to manage, prioritise, and filter demand. Its contact and control room has impressive arrangements in place to ensure the structured assessment known as THRIVE is applied appropriately. The force is trialling a new district triage team that manages those calls from the public which do not require an immediate police response, which allows more effective use of local resources in managing appointments with the public.

Norfolk Constabulary has an impressive culture of innovation and continuous improvement, led by the chief constable and supported by senior leaders. Its change team has a detailed programme of work. The force routinely identifies inefficient processes, improving how it operates and becoming more efficient. Robust quality assurance mechanisms ensure that the force’s efforts to achieve efficiency do not lead to demand being suppressed. It is issuing its frontline staff with body-worn video cameras, and purchasing smart phones and tablets to improve mobile working. The workforce is encouraged to suggest new ideas, and is confident in doing so. For example, a member of the workforce suggested the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones, to support frontline policing and this idea has been adopted by the force.

Outstanding
2

How well does the force use its resources?

Overall, Norfolk Constabulary is good at how it uses its resources to meet demand and public expectations. The force has made good progress in understanding the current capabilities and gaps in skills among police officers. It has collated the operational skills of its officers and these are now stored and monitored centrally. The force now needs to develop a similar understanding of the capabilities of police staff. It understands what skills are needed in specific posts, and the gaps in skills in the force.

Although it has a good knowledge of the current leadership capabilities of its officers, it needs to develop this for police staff. The force could do more to understand fully what skills it needs in its leaders. It has recognised that leaders need the skills to make sensible decisions based on sound evidence and so has arranged classes and master’s degrees in evidence-based policing for selected staff.

Norfolk Constabulary has highly effective processes in place to prioritise its activities and allocate its resources, based on a detailed understanding of current and likely future demand. The force engaged external consultants to help develop a new approach to allocating money internally, called outcome-based budgeting, which gives it a better understanding of how it allocates its money and uses its resources, and what is achieved as a result. Overall, it uses its investments to best effect.

The force has an impressive range of working arrangements with other police forces, public services, voluntary organisations and the public to help save money and improve the services it provides. The force has collaborated with Suffolk Constabulary on a revised ICT strategy, on a regional head of procurement to make the procurement of goods and services more efficient, and on a specialist unit to identify and investigate allegations of police corruption. Norfolk Constabulary is an innovative force, with a culture of trying new ideas which are evaluated robustly to establish what works. The chief constable takes personal responsibility for promoting innovation and chairs a board at which officers are invited to bid for funds to test new ideas.

Good

Areas for improvement

  • The force should undertake appropriate activities to understand fully 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 be efficient in meeting current and likely future demand.
3

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

Norfolk Constabulary is good at planning for the future. The force uses data from a wide range of sources and other agencies, such as health, local authority and the voluntary sector, to analyse demand and identify trends. It has a programme of research and analysis, supported by robust academic evaluation through the Better Policing Collaborative to help predict future demand.

The force uses a variety of methods to identify future leaders, including recognition by managers and supervisors, the Direct Entry scheme for inspectors and the Fast Track constable to inspector programme. However, it needs to do more to develop an understanding of what leadership skills will be required in the future. It uses the annual staff appraisal and continued professional development plans to identify the development needs of both officers and staff. The force is taking steps to select new talent from outside the organisation, including from universities and local military establishments.

Norfolk Constabulary’s plans for the future are based on a wide range of data, academic research and evidence of what works and appear to be realistic and achievable. The force recognises it will need to use its workforce more flexibly in future if it is to meet changes and increases in crime, and is proposing two investigation hubs to group its specialist resources. It works well with other forces and partner agencies to reduce costs but also realises that it needs to invest to make greater savings in future and improve the services it provides. The force has a joint ICT strategy with Suffolk Constabulary for 2017–20 that is awaiting approval. This considers how new technology will support the force’s work in the future.

Good