Derbyshire PEEL 2016
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Derbyshire Constabulary has been assessed as good in respect of the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. The force has a comprehensive understanding of demand on its services and is making considerable effort to improve the way it works, including collaborating well with other forces and partner organisations to improve efficiency and save money. It has managed its finances successfully and has made investments as well as savings. In last year’s efficiency inspection, Derbyshire Constabulary was judged to be good.
Since HMIC’s 2015 inspection, Derbyshire Constabulary has maintained the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. It has developed a good understanding of the full range of current demand for its services, supported by analysis conducted by experts from outside the force, and has reshaped its operating model. The force has also commissioned research to gather more detail about under-reported crime and the hidden demand for police services in the community. In this way, it can make evidence-based decisions about how to allocate its resources.
The force is improving the way it matches resources to demand and is investing more resources in areas of growing demand, such as safeguarding vulnerable people and cyber-crime. It has set clear priorities that take into account current and emerging demand as well as the nature of risks facing the community and the objectives set by the police and crime plan. The force is taking into consideration that local partner organisations may not be able to continue offering the same levels of service because of budget cuts. It is making a considerable effort to improve the way it works, including completely restructuring frontline resources and introducing several ICT systems, fundamental to operational activity that will bring its capability into line with that of other forces.
Derbyshire Constabulary is committed to joint working, collaborating with neighbouring forces for counter-terrorism and serious and organised crime investigations. The force will share headquarters accommodation with the fire and rescue service in a building developed in complete cooperation, featuring a shared working environment and ICT infrastructure. This is intended to maximise the potential for working together. The force can also demonstrate that it works well with partner agencies to meet and manage demand as effectively as possible.
The force continues to manage its finances successfully, having taken early steps to meet savings requirements and build significant reserves. It uses external expertise during all major investments, with business benefits realisation and investment plans scrutinised by the OPCC and external auditors to provide assurance as to their credibility. The force’s strong financial position has allowed it to re-invest resources in areas of growing demand and highest risk. Further investments in buildings and ICT have been carefully planned using prudent assumptions about future income and costs. The force’s plans are ambitious: the joint-enterprise approach with the fire and rescue service sets the tone for how the force is prepared to be creative and pragmatic in finding new ways of working to meet future demands.
Derbyshire Constabulary, through careful financial management, is able to make both savings and investments, while working to a balanced budget. Its sustainable, affordable workforce model and a fully funded, well-planned investments programme leave the force well positioned to continue meeting public expectations in an increasingly efficient way.
How well does the force understand the current and likely future demand?
Derbyshire Constabulary has developed a detailed understanding of the full range of current demand for its services.
The force’s operational review in late 2015 was based on detailed research and analysis into reactive demand, looking back three years. This allowed the force to re-shape its operating model and make evidence-based decisions regarding how to allocate resources.
The evidence-based policing board coordinates force research and development and collaborates with academia to match student research proposals with force priorities and knowledge gaps.
Derbyshire Constabulary has also taken steps to plan for future demand. The force uses the management of risk in law enforcement process to recognise hidden and less well-reported crimes including domestic abuse, organised immigration crime, human trafficking and exploitation, rape and serious sexual assault, and safeguarding of adults and children.
The safer neighbourhood teams across the force understood emerging demand in their areas. The force has recognised that local partner organisations may not be able to continue offering the same levels of service due to budget and funding cuts, and there has been some planning around this.
The force has developed a digital police community support officer function, permitting virtual surgeries in addition to traditional meetings, to help improve understanding of online vulnerability.
How well does the force use its resources to manage current demand?
Derbyshire Constabulary understands the complexity of the demand for its services, and has allocated resources appropriately. It sets clear priorities for the provision of policing services. A research programme, Closing the Risk Gap 2, led to the re-investment of £2.6m in workforce posts to meet demand in key areas, including non-recent child sexual abuse and call handling.
The force has set out a full programme of ICT change and investment for 2016. This was much needed; in the HMIC Efficiency report 2015, we noted that the force had been slow to adopt new technology. It is encouraging to see the force catching up with others, but it is important that this momentum is sustained.
Derbyshire Constabulary understands the range of skills its workforce requires and has processes in place to manage gaps in knowledge and capacity. The level of digital skills among staff was relatively low, reflecting the force’s weakness in IT provision and mobile office capability, but widespread training is under way.
The force shows a strong commitment to joint working when it provides best service for the local community. The force considers the rationale behind each collaboration carefully and is prepared to withdraw when it is right to so do.
The force is working through an array of change programmes, and we saw evidence of thoroughly evaluated plans, clear lines of accountability, scrutiny and oversight.
How well is the force planning for demand in the future?
Derbyshire Constabulary has developed sound plans for investment and savings, working from prudent, realistic planning assumptions. The force has a strong track record for achieving savings, working within rigorous financial controls and closely monitoring budgets. The force uses external expertise during all major investments, with business benefits realisation and investment plans scrutinised by the office of the police and crime commissioner and external auditors to provide assurance as to their credibility.
The force’s plans for change across the workforce are both transformative and necessary. A wide evidence base has been developed to demonstrate the necessity to change the operating model. The force is well prepared to handle general and investment-specific risks. The risks of savings not arising from force plans, specifically those under its operational review, are heavily mitigated by the lack of inter-dependencies with other organisations or external factors.
The force’s plans for the near future are ambitious, and to some degree will change how it operates in the future. The joint-enterprise approach with the fire and rescue service for building and using a new headquarters sets the tone for how the force is prepared to be creative and pragmatic in finding new ways of working.
As a result of careful financial management, Derbyshire Constabulary is able to make both savings and investments, while working to a balanced budget. Its sustainable, affordable workforce model and a fully funded, well-planned investments programme leave the force well positioned to continue meeting public expectations in an increasingly efficient way.