Leicestershire PEEL 2016
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Leicestershire Police has been assessed as good in respect of the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. The force has a good understanding of current demand for its services, but could do more to understand likely future demand. It uses its resources well to manage current demand, reallocating some resources to high-priority areas such as public protection. The force has a good track record of reducing costs and reinvesting in high priority areas, and collaborates well with other forces and organisations in the region. It works hard to increase its efficiency and improve the service it provides. In last year’s efficiency inspection, Leicestershire Police was judged to be good.
Since HMIC’s 2015 inspection, Leicestershire Police has continued to be efficient in how it keeps people safe and reduces crime. The force has a comprehensive understanding of its current demand. It has used an academic model (the Cambridge harm index) to measure crime, rather than counting types of crime. This means that it can identify those communities suffering the most harm from crime and target resources in those areas. The force is working with partner organisations, such as the health, probation, fire and ambulance services, to understand and assess future demand. It is also working with them to understand the effects of budget cuts and to identify and mitigate any risks.
Leicestershire Police is good at using its resources to manage current demand and has strong processes in place to ensure that it is prioritising its resources. Its rigorous ongoing outcome-based budgeting processes mean the force has a clear understanding of the costs of its services. In conjunction with HR and finance, any costs, savings, investments and the associated staffing changes are clearly tracked and results are analysed to assess their impact. It has a limited understanding of its current workforce skills and capabilities but is seeking to improve its understanding through a skills audit of the workforce. This will be essential for the force to understand and develop the capabilities it needs for the future and meet crucial current gaps in areas such as firearms policing and public protection. The force has a commendable approach to regional collaboration and a good record of joint working arrangements. All five East Midlands forces have collaborated in investment in ICT with the aim of being able to access the same IT systems to reduce costs and improve efficiency. The force needs to ensure it assesses the benefits of the new ICT systems.
The force is good at planning for demand in the future and is developing credible plans based on assessments of likely future demand and anticipated workforce numbers. The force challenges itself to make further savings to increase efficiency and improve on the level of services it provides. Its medium-term financial plan shows the force plans to allocate more resources to areas likely to see increased demand, such as child sexual exploitation and safeguarding. Plans for increased collaborative work with other forces are ambitious in terms of scale and the potential benefits that could be realised. The force has managed its financial position well and should be able to cope if the expected savings from collaboration are not fully realised or delayed.
How well does the force understand the current and likely future demand?
Leicestershire Police has continued to build on the positive understanding of demand which HMIC commented on in our 2015 efficiency report. The force has used an academic model (the Cambridge harm index) to create a more nuanced understanding of where the most significant geographic areas for ‘high harm’ crimes are located. This mapping exercise is now complete and should help the force to identify areas where demand is less likely to be reported to the police.
The force is trying to establish what savings are being made by its local public sector partners. The force recognises that their budgets will be under particular pressure from 2018 onwards and that this may affect future funding for initiatives such as the local authority prevention scheme. While the force has undertaken some positive work in relation to understanding potential future areas of demand, it recognises that it still has more work to do in this area.
How well does the force use its resources to manage current demand?
The force has strong processes in place to ensure that it is prioritising its resources to meet current demand. As a result of its rigorous, ongoing, outcome-based budgeting processes, the force has a well-developed understanding of the costs of services in relation to the quality and level of outcomes or results. When combined with a good understanding of its current demand, this has allowed the force to make pragmatic and quick decisions around re-allocating resource to high-priority areas.
HMIC found that the force has a limited understanding of its current workforce skills and capabilities but is seeking to improve its understanding through a skills audit of the workforce. This will be essential in order for the force to understand and develop the capabilities it needs for the future but also to help in meeting crucial current gaps in areas such as firearms policing and public protection. The force has previously undertaken robust processes to understand the consequences of its major change programme and recognises that it needs to continue to develop this approach to cover the recent implementation of new ICT systems.
How well is the force planning for demand in the future?
Leicestershire Police has taken positive steps to develop credible future plans based on assumptions from some good information about future demand and anticipated workforce numbers. The force has considered how its future workforce and ICT capabilities could potentially integrate both internally and externally with its neighbouring forces and its approach to regional collaboration is commendable.
The force recognises the need for further savings to increase efficiency and improve on the level of services it provides. Its initial business case for increased collaborative work is ambitious in terms of scale and the potential benefits that could be realised. These plans are heavily dependent on continued support for the collaboration. While the force has prudently managed its financial position to be able to cope if these savings do not materialise, it may wish to consider developing additional options to make sure that it continues to be in a strong position to develop more efficient ways of working.