City of London PEEL 2017
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
City of London Police is judged to be good in the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. This is an improvement on the overall judgment last year, when the force was judged as requiring improvement. The force’s understanding of demand for its services is good; its planning for the future is also good; but its use of resources to manage demand still requires improvement.
Overall, City of London Police is good in how efficient it is at keeping people safe and reducing crime. Through the introduction of its strategic threat and risk assessment (STRA) process, the force has improved considerably its understanding of both current demand, and demand less likely to be reported to the police. It has good structures in place for receiving feedback from its workforce about its efficiency, but it should do more to understand how inefficient processes create demand. It also needs to continue the work it has done since 2016 to achieve the full benefits of the change programmes that are already under way.
The force needs to improve how it uses its resources. Until a full skills audit of its workforce is completed (at the time of inspection this was due in October 2017) it cannot fully understand or plan for the gaps in its current capability. The force also needs to complete work to understand the levels of service that can be provided at different levels of cost. However, the force is one of only a few to take the positive action to recruit externally to provide skills and capabilities it lacks. It is developing an understanding of the leadership skills and gaps in its workforce.
City of London Police is good at planning for the future. The force’s plans have developed significantly since last year and although it is reliant on the City of London Corporation to underwrite this year’s budget, it is investing in infrastructure to make savings for the future. The force’s understanding of how technology can benefit policing, and criminals, particularly in fraud and internet-based crime, is outstanding. So too is the force’s understanding of what the public wants and how this expectation is changing.
How well does the force understand demand?
Even without the demand and value for money review, which is still to report its findings, the force has developed a good understanding of its current and less reported demand through its strategic threat and risk assessment process. The force works successfully with other agencies to uncover hidden demand in fraud and internet-based crime.
The benefits the current change programmes are designed to achieve have not been realised fully because the change programmes are not completed yet. Although the force has processes in place to address this, and we found wide understanding of these processes, it must replicate them for previous change programmes.
The force is taking steps to have a more systematic approach to identifying inefficient activity; its introduction of a new IT system will support this even further. The ‘innovate’ programme and the structures the force has put in place for listening to workforce suggestions and making changes as a result are very positive, and are taken seriously by leaders. This has led to innovative practice across force directorates.
Areas for improvement
- The force should put in place better processes and governance to understand and realise the benefits of change programmes, and how they affect the force’s ability to meet likely future demand efficiently.
How well does the force use its resources?
Until the full skills audit of its workforce is completed (at the time of inspection, this was due in October 2017) City of London Police cannot fully understand or plan for the gaps in its capability. However, the force is developing an understanding of its workforce’s leadership skills and gaps. The force has an effective process to identify its priorities, but it needs to complete the work to understand what reducing and investing mean for the services it provides, to ensure the force is being as agile as it can be with the available resources. The force works with other agencies to manage demand, but it recognises that it needs to develop this further.
Areas for improvement
- The force should undertake appropriate activities to fully understand its workforce’s capabilities, in order to identify any gaps and put plans in place to address them. This will enable the force to be confident in its ability to be efficient in meeting current and likely future demand.
- The force should ensure that it understands the level of service that can be provided at different levels of costs, so it can identify the optimum level of service provision.
How well is the force planning for demand in the future?
The force’s understanding of what technology can offer policing and criminals, and its plans to meet those challenges, are outstanding. The force has very positive practices to understand what its public wants from the police, and has used this effectively to plan for the future. The technology which the force has developed with an IT contractor to make the processing of fraud reports more efficient is a very positive step. Once implemented, it should make the national policing response to fraud and internet-based crime much more effective.
The force works well with local agencies but it could do more to explore further opportunities with other agencies to manage demand in the future. It should implement its draft talent management strategy and communicate it to the workforce, but we recognise the work done by the force to bring in new skills using external recruitment. The force’s demand and value for money review was still in progress at the time of our inspection, and although the force will need to review and implement changes as a result of this we recognise the significant work completed since last year. We found realistic planning, savings and investment by the force with the plans built on sound assumptions which should enable the force to achieve its vision ‘to deliver an exceptional policing service’.
Areas for improvement
- The force should do more to explore opportunities for further collaboration with partner organisations to improve services, drive efficiencies and better manage demand for its services in the future.