Cambridgeshire PEEL 2017
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Cambridgeshire Constabulary is judged to be good in the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. Our overall judgment this year is an improvement from last year. The force is judged to be good in its understanding of demand; its use of resources to manage demand is assessed to be good; and its planning for future demand is also judged to be good.
Cambridgeshire Constabulary is making good progress in improving its understanding of demand for its services, but recognises that it needs to do more, particularly to predict future demand. The force understands the factors that affect demand and uses a risk-based approach to manage and prioritise its response. However, it is not answering all non-emergency calls within a reasonable amount of time, which means some calls are abandoned and potential demands for service may be being missed.
The force uses and allocates its resources well and is developing a new policing model to improve its flexibility and how it matches resources to demand. It has good investment plans and is working well with other organisations to manage demand for services. The force has a good understanding of the operational skills and capabilities of its current workforce and it is identifying future requirements and the resources that will be needed. Leaders are being trained for the future. However, there is an inconsistent approach to performance development reviews. The force is part of a strategic alliance with Bedfordshire Police and Hertfordshire Constabulary, which should increase the opportunities to improve diversity and to identify and nurture talent.
The force has good plans for implementing the changes necessary to deal with an uncertain financial future. It has a prudent approach to savings and good investment plans. The chief constable and the police and crime commissioner work closely with Bedfordshire Police, Hertfordshire Constabulary and with local organisations to help improve efficiency.
How well does the force understand demand?
Cambridgeshire Constabulary has made good progress since 2016 towards understanding demand for its services. The force recognises that it needs to do more to achieve a good understanding of demand and has engaged external expertise and purchased analytical systems to improve its assessment of current, complex and future demand. The force identifies hidden demand well, prioritising resources to seek out demand that is more challenging for the force and partner organisations to identify.
The force has good systems for identifying inefficient processes and to improve how it operates. It identifies the right response to a reported incident using a risk-based approach. The force has a wide range of methods the public can use to contact it, including an online non-urgent crime-reporting option. However, the force recognises that it needs to do more to reduce the proportion of non-urgent calls that are abandoned, to ensure that demand is not being suppressed by calls not being answered.
The force has good processes to ensure that benefits from its change projects are realised and that unintended negative consequences are identified. It has a strong culture of innovation, particularly in information technology. The workforce is encouraged to make suggestions and put forward their ideas, which are listened to by leaders.
Areas for improvement
- The force should put in place better processes and governance to understand its prioritisation of calls, and how they affect the force’s ability to meet current and likely future demand efficiently.
How well does the force use its resources?
Cambridgeshire Constabulary uses and allocates its resources well to manage current demand. It has a good understanding of the cost and quality of current service levels and it prioritises resources to meet demand. The force is developing a new local policing model which aims to be more flexible and match resources to demand better. However, this is not yet in place and redirecting resources is having an adverse effect in some areas.
The force has a good understanding of its workforce’s operational skills and capabilities. It is identifying future requirements and has plans to allocate resources appropriately. The force could benefit from a more formal understanding of the interpersonal skills held by the workforce and from a better understanding of leadership skills, particularly below the rank of chief inspector and police staff equivalent.
The force has good investment plans and it is working well with other organisations to manage demand for services. It continues to develop the strong and well-established strategic alliance, regional and seven-force collaborations. The force can demonstrate that its collaboration with others reduces cost, and increases resilience and capacity.
Areas for improvement
- The force should ensure that it has sufficient resources available to fulfil its resourcing model, and so to meet its demand, while also taking into account the well-being of its staff.
- The force should conduct a skills and capability audit that will allow it to understand leadership capacity and capability below the rank of chief inspector and police staff equivalent, including special constables and volunteers.
How well is the force planning for demand in the future?
Cambridgeshire Constabulary is improving its understanding of future demand, which is less well developed than its assessment of current demand. It has improved its analytical capability, engaging external consultants and purchasing new analytical software. The force has a strong focus on how crimes can be committed online with changing technology. It recognises that its workforce will need new skills to tackle online crime and is continuing to develop its capability at force, regional and national levels.
The force is training leaders for the future. The collaborative approach within the strategic alliance to recruitment and developing people’s skills should ensure greater opportunities to increase the diversity of teams and to recruit talented individuals from outside the force. However, the quality assurance process for performance development reviews needs to be improved.
The force faces financial pressures and has developed a realistic detailed plan for making changes. Its development of a new operating model has strong financial management and oversight. The chief constable and the police and crime commissioner are working closely with their counterparts in the strategic alliance and with local partner organisations to achieve greater efficiencies. The force is investing well in ICT and other technology and it is committed to invest to save projects that should increase its capacity and capability.
Areas for improvement
- The force and the strategic alliance should ensure that performance development reviews are quality assured and line managers supported to develop the skills and capability of their officers and staff effectively.