Value for money dashboard - about the data

This page sets out information about the data used in the value for money dashboards.

It also sets out some caveats on how the data should be used.

To view the raw data sheets, please see the value for money data page.

General caveats

Timeliness of data

Data within the profiles is sourced from data available at the time of publication and may have subsequently been amended and updated since.

Adjusted costings

Historical cost data can be adjusted to current-year prices by selecting the option on the homepage. This uses the GDP deflator from Gov.uk’s GDP deflators at market prices tool.

Many costs in and around London and the south-east are higher than elsewhere in England and Wales. The police funding formula takes account of this through area cost adjustment (ACA).

You can take account of this factor by using options on the homepage. But please note, the ACA wasn’t designed for benchmarking purposes, but this approach at least takes some account of area-based differences in costs.

Data quality

Differences in recording practices also mean that some forces must fit their data into national categories. This may account for some apparent differences in cost or performance.

Data quality is an important limitation to the correct interpretation of the data. We systematically validate the data, working with the Home Office, CIPFA and forces. But, data quality must be balanced by practical limitations, such as the need to publish data in a timely fashion and pressures on analytical police staff.

Spending and staffing data

Data on spending and staffing is collected by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), through the Police Objective Analysis (POA).

The data are split across the following two dimensions.

  1. Objective headings – where each objective is a different policing function e.g. investigations and road policing. These can be further split into sub-objectives.
  2. Subjective headings – these are more traditional accountancy headings used to group spending and staffing data e.g. police officer salaries, premise-related expenses, police staff full-time equivalent (FTE).

Considerations when using CIPFA POA data

Data presented here has some minor differences compared with how CIPFA collects and reports POA:

  • spending data generally excludes national policing and police and crime commissioner functions;
  • the ‘local investigations’ POA sub-objective is included here within ‘local policing’ (not ‘investigations’, as in the POA data collection);
  • our dashboard calculates net revenue expenditure (NRE) differently to CIPFA (total expenditure (GRE) minus earned income), to show the total cost of policing to the taxpayer; and
  • income is reported as negative numbers (so shows below the x-axis on some charts).

For further information on how CIPFA’s POA headings relate to those used in these dashboards, please see the value for money profiles data page.

CIPFA checks

The POA data presented in the dashboard are subject to a systematic checking process:

  • CIPFA applies arithmetic and reconciliation checks to the financial data from forces;
  • each force is asked to check its statistical outliers (where its costs are significantly different from average and / or from its previous year’s data);
  • each force receives a draft profile to check the data before publication; and
  • each year forces identify anomalies or inconsistencies, which we try to resolve. Forces can resubmit data to correct any errors.

Crime data

Crime data excludes fraud and crime reported to agencies other than the 43 Home Office-funded police forces in England and Wales (e.g. British Transport Police is not included).

Crime data integrity

In 2014, we inspected how police forces in England and Wales record crime data. We identified serious concerns about the crime-recording process and have since undertaken a more detailed programme of inspecting crime-recording across police forces in England and Wales.

In response to the findings of both the 2014 report and our follow up inspections, many forces have improved or are in the process of improving crime-recording practices.

These improvements have clearly affected the recorded crime trends shown in the profiles. The effect is likely to vary by force and type of crime.

For further information about HMICFRS’s crime-recording inspections, please see the crime data integrity inspections page.

ONS crime severity scores

Where crimes weren’t included in the ONS severity scores tool they were mapped to the nearest equivalent.

Workforce data

The ‘workforce’ section uses data collected by the Home Office and is based on staff and officers in-post as of 31 March each year. Forces calculate POA staffing estimates as the number of staff budgeted for each staff type, so aren’t directly comparable.

Population data

Population data are mid-year estimates, with the 2018/19 value calculated by assessing the trend for the last five years.

Population data for the City of London is based on the workday population, as published by the Greater London Authority, not the resident population used for other forces.