Hertfordshire PEEL 2017
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Hertfordshire Constabulary is judged to be good in the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. Our overall judgment this year is the same as 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.
Hertfordshire Constabulary’s understanding of the demand for its services is developing well. Since 2016, the force has commissioned external expertise and purchased analytical systems to improve its assessment of current, complex and future demand, which will inform options for a new policing model. The force demonstrates a good commitment to managing and prioritising its response to changes in demand. It filters demand using a risk-based approach and has improved this since 2016 through better management and quality assurance processes. The force needs to make sure that it uses this improved approach consistently.
The force uses and allocates resources well. It is developing a new local policing model to improve its flexibility and how it matches resources to demand. The force has a good understanding of its current workforce’s operational skills and capabilities. It is identifying future requirements and has plans to resource them appropriately. The force invests well, and works with others to manage demand for its services. Leaders are being trained for the future. Opportunities to improve diversity by working with under-represented groups and identifying and nurturing talent should increase as a result of the force’s collaborative working in its strategic alliance with Bedfordshire Police and Cambridgeshire Constabulary.
The force faces financial challenges and has a detailed plan of how it intends to implement change. It has contingencies in place, and is developing an updated local policing model. The new chief constable (who was appointed in October 2016) and the police and crime commissioner are working closely within the established strategic alliance, as well as with local partner organisations – the Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust and the Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service – to achieve greater efficiencies.
How well does the force understand demand?
Hertfordshire Constabulary is making good progress in understanding the current demand for its services. It has recently commissioned external expertise and purchased analytical systems to improve its assessment of current, complex and future demand, which will inform options for a new policing model.
The force understands how demand fluctuates and it is fully committed to improving the efficiency of how it manages and prioritises demand for its services. The force uses a risk-based approach to filter demand and it has recently improved this approach through better management and quality assurance processes. However, the force is now spending longer talking to callers, so the number of abandoned calls has increased. It has a wide range of methods the public can use to contact it and has introduced a new online option for the public to report non-urgent crime.
The force is striving to ensure that it achieves all the predicted benefits from its change projects and that any unintended consequences are identified early and addressed. The strategic alliance with Cambridgeshire Constabulary and Bedfordshire Police has produced extensive achievements in the collaboration of operational and organisational departments. The force encourages the workforce to make suggestions and offer ideas, and these are welcomed and discussed by leaders.
How well does the force use its resources?
Hertfordshire Constabulary allocates and uses its resources well to manage current demand for its services. The force has a good understanding of the cost and quality of current service levels and it prioritises resources to meet demand. It is identifying future requirements and has plans to allocate resources appropriately. The force is developing a new local policing model that should be more flexible and effective in matching resources to demand. Until this is in place, resources are redirected. However, in some areas, this is having an adverse effect and officers and staff are not able to fulfil their roles.
The force has a good understanding of its workforce’s operational skills and capabilities, and of the leadership skills and capabilities among chief inspector and police staff equivalents up to chief officer level. It could benefit from a more formal understanding of the workforce’s softer skills, and of leadership skills below the rank of chief inspector and police staff equivalent.
The force has good investment plans and is working well with others to manage demand for its services and to make savings. It continues to develop the strong and well-established strategic alliance, regional and seven-force collaborations. The force can demonstrate that its collaborative working with others reduces costs and increases resilience and capacity.
Areas for improvement
- The force should ensure that it has sufficient officers and staff available to fulfil its resourcing model and meet the demand on its services, while also taking into account the wellbeing of its workforce.
- 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?
Hertfordshire Constabulary is improving its understanding of future demand for its services. It understands the importance of anticipating changes in demand and analysing wide sources of information and has improved its capability by commissioning external consultants and purchasing new analytical software.
The force is training leaders for the future. The strategic alliance’s collaboration on recruitment, selection and promotion processes 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 could be improved.
The force faces financial challenges and it has developed a detailed plan for implementing change. It has contingencies in place and it is developing a new police operating model. 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.