Metropolitan PEEL 2016
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
The Metropolitan Police Service has been assessed as good in respect of the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. It analyses demand for its services, including emerging and hidden crime. It also seeks the public’s views on its services. The force has plans to improve its information and communications technology (ICT) and has workable plans to meet future savings requirements. However, it could do more to manage demand.
The Metropolitan Police Service is good at understanding its current and likely future demand. The force analyses the demand for its services and works with other agencies to get a broader picture of what causes demand, and to understand how to reduce inefficient practices. It has worked on understanding emerging demand and hidden crime and has a wide variety of initiatives to help prevent crime. The force is using various ways to find out what the public expects.
The Metropolitan Police Service is also good at planning for demand in the future. The force’s medium-term financial strategy sets out its savings targets until 2020.
It has detailed plans to oversee progress. It has ambitious plans for its future use of ICT, which it believes will help other change programmes succeed, but this is dependant on the force providing sufficient training; this had not been fully planned at the time of our inspection.
The force’s financial plans appear to be realistic and they propose changes in areas such as the force’s estate, technology and the way local policing is organised to achieve efficiencies for reinvestment. The force is short of business analysts and project managers with experience of working on large-scale change programmes, including carrying out benefits identification and review. It is now working with a single strategic partner; the skills and knowledge obtained should be transferred back to the force.
However, the Metropolitan Police Service requires improvement in how well it uses it resources to manage current demand. The force met most of the priorities set in the Mayor of London’s police and crime plan 2013−16, and has started to increase resources to protect vulnerable people. The force allocates resources to meet demand on a monthly basis using using a risk assessment tool, called THRIVE, and reviews them daily to respond to changes in demand. The force responds to calls to service based on THRIVE, but it could do more to manage demand, and to assess when an officer first attends a call whether a crime is capable of being solved (known as ‘solvability’).
The force has identified where it does not have the skills it needs in its workforce, and invested to fill those gaps. Some have been filled, but some remain in investigation and analysts with experience of identifying and reviewing programme benefits (known as business analysts). The force has not prioritised collaboration, but it does work with other agencies to manage demand effectively. It plans greater collaboration with blue-light emergency services. A lack of understanding of the impact and benefits of ICT change projects together with a lack of review and rigorous oversight has led to inefficiencies; the force has learned lessons from previous mistakes and change projects will now be subject to professional project management before being started.
How well does the force understand the current and likely future demand?
The Metropolitan Police Service is good at understanding its current and likely future demand. The force analyses the pressure on its services to help understand what causes demand, and has used data from other bodies such as the National Health Service to get a broader picture so that it can discuss with them how to manage demand created inadvertently or demand on the force which would be better handled elsewhere. It also has many initiatives to prevent crime.
The force is working with the public to obtain their views of the force and understand their expectations of its services. It is also using work it has done to understand emerging demand and hidden crime to help plan its response.
How well does the force use its resources to manage current demand?
The Metropolitan Police Service requires improvement in how well it uses its resources to manage current demand. There are some clear positives: the force has largely been successful in meeting the priorities set in the Mayor of London’s police and crime plan 2013–16, and has started to increase resources to protect vulnerable people. The force allocates resources to meet demand on a monthly basis against its risk, threat and harm assessment, and reviews resources daily in response to changes in demand.
The force responds to calls to service based on risk, threat and harm factors, but it could do more to manage demand, and to assess the solvability of a crime on first attendance. It has carried out analysis that provides a baseline of where it invests its resources in terms of workforce and financial costs. This analysis and its workforce plan have helped the force understand where the gaps are, and it has taken steps to fill them. But shortages remain in investigation and business analysts.
The force has not prioritised collaboration, and is unlikely to do so unless there is political support. However, it does work operationally with other agencies to manage demand effectively. It plans further joint working with blue light emergency services. ICT projects have seen inefficiencies; the force has learnt from previous mistakes, and current change programmes will be subject to professional benefits identification before being started.
Areas for improvement
- The Metropolitan Police Service should ensure the benefits and efficiencies from its investment in new ICT are realised by providing sufficient levels of training to staff.
- The Metropolitan Police Service should put in place better processes and governance to understand and realise the benefits of projects, change programmes and collaborative work, and how they affect the force’s ability to meet current and likely future demand efficiently.
How well is the force planning for demand in the future?
The Metropolitan Police Service is good at planning for demand in the future. The force’s medium-term financial strategy sets out its savings requirements until 2020. It has detailed plans for all elements of the change portfolio and a process to oversee progress. Plans in the change portfolio and other major programmes undergo scrutiny to ensure their credibility before being presented to the Mayor.
The force has ambitious plans for its future use of ICT, which it sees as a way to support other changes. Several ICT projects are in progress or are due to start imminently, but it is too soon to see their effects. The force’s financial plans appear to be sustainable. Forecasts show that savings of £390m are required between 2016/17 and 2019/20. The force is committed to making savings of £290m over this period, proposing changes in areas such as its estate, technology and local policing functions to achieve savings for reinvestment. The remaining £100m of savings are largely dependent on the delivery of the force’s ICT plans, which are still being developed, so are not yet included in the force’s budget. The force’s plans will be subject to scrutiny by HMIC in 2017.
The force has identified a shortage of business analysts and project managers with experience of working on large-scale change programmes, including carrying out benefits identification and review. The force recognises the risks of weak analysis, and is not including anticipated savings in its financial plans until it has tested the operational impact.
The force is also now working on its change portfolio with a single management consultancy. A principal element of this new partnership is that skills and knowledge will be transferred back to the force. Generally, the force has less to gain from collaborating with other police forces. Work is underway to develop existing collaboration arrangements, but progress has slowed pending clarification of the new Mayor’s priorities.
Areas for improvement
- The Metropolitan Police Service should complete the update of its published ICT strategy, so that it is aligned with the Technology Architecture Compendium, and therefore the change programmes in One Met Model 2020.