Lancashire PEEL 2016
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Lancashire Constabulary has been assessed as good in respect of the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime.
Lancashire Constabulary has a good understanding of current and future demand for its services. There is a well established change programme that considers current demand on the constabulary and is developing a more detailed understanding of more complex demand. The current demand which comes into the constabulary’s control room has been analysed in order to find a more efficient way of responding to calls. The same method is now being used to analyse and understand more complex demand. There has been significant investment in ICT, but many staff said that the new custody and prosecution IT system has made it difficult for them to carry out their duties efficiently. The constabulary uses its resources to manage current demand well but could improve how resources are identified and deployed to incidents. There are good governance arrangements in place to match resources to priorities.
Lancashire Constabulary is a central partner in a group of public service organisations which support an early action programme, and provide co-ordinated support to the communities who are most in need. Current gaps in the workforce have been identified. The constabulary intends to recruit people who have the right skills to provide a policing style which is based on working more closely with other public services in order to support the early action agenda. This new approach will be introduced as part of a place-based policing strategy, which will see more integration with other public services to provide the most appropriate support to people in need. The constabulary has a proven track record in making savings and has made prudent financial plans to meet future needs.
How well does the force understand the current and likely future demand?
Lancashire Constabulary has a good understanding of its current and future demand. A well established change programme is considering current demand on the constabulary and is developing a more detailed understanding of more complex demand. There is a strong emphasis on working with partner organisations to co-ordinate services to identify people at risk, and intervene earlier, in order to manage demand more effectively, and protect the most vulnerable people.
The analysis of current demand through the constabulary’s control room has allowed the constabulary to identify areas in which communications, systems and processes can be improved in order to make the constabulary more efficient. This approach is now being applied to develop an understanding, in conjunction with other public services, of more complex demand which involves vulnerable people. This will inform the development of the ‘early action’ approach. The constabulary expects that earlier interventions to support the most vulnerable people across Lancashire will provide better outcomes, and will reduce long-term demand on the constabulary.
The introduction of a new IT system for prosecution and custody cases has generated unnecessary extra work for the workforce. Staff reported that problems with the system are preventing them from carrying out their duties efficiently, and are slowing the process down.
How well does the force use its resources to manage current demand?
The constabulary uses its resources to manage current demand well. There are good governance arrangements in place to match resources to priorities, with an intention that the right resource should be deployed in the first instance. However, this has not yet been fully achieved as staff do not always make themselves available for deployment.
A partnership framework with other public services enables the early action programme to develop and flourish. Current gaps in the workforce have been identified and the constabulary has comprehensive plans to recruit people who have the right skills to provide the new style of place-based policing. This is based on early interventions, in partnership with other local organisations, to support the most vulnerable members of the community, reduce crime and manage demand more effectively.
There are good examples of collaboration and there has been substantial investment in ICT. However, staff have contrasted their high regard for the implementation of mobile data technology with the difficulties in working with the recently introduced prosecution case and custody system.
How well is the force planning for demand in the future?
Lancashire Constabulary is planning well to manage future demand for its services. It has comprehensive plans to invest in a new place-based model of policing. There are credible workforce plans to provide the skills and capability to support the model, and there are ICT plans which will allow more agile, efficient working. We found prudent financial plans to meet future needs.
The constabulary has a proven track record in meeting savings requirements. However, current financial projections produced by the constabulary to 2019/20 show that £16.7m of savings are yet to be identified. There remains some uncertainty over future funding for the constabulary. If the impact of the government’s proposed changes to the way police funding is allocated proves to be worse than expected for Lancashire, or it is implemented earlier than expected, the constabulary will need to find even more savings.
The constabulary continues to invest significantly in ICT to enable its officers and staff to work more flexibly. It continues to review opportunities to work more closely with and locate its teams in the same place as other public services in order to reduce costs and work more effectively.
The constabulary is collaborating with several other police services, public sector organisations and academic institutions. These enable the constabulary to be confident that its long-term strategy of place-based policing, supported by an early action approach to reduce demand, will succeed.