Metropolitan PEEL 2017
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
The Metropolitan Police Service has been assessed as requiring improvement in the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. In 2016, HMICFRS assessed the Metropolitan Police Service as good for the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime.
The Metropolitan Police Service requires improvement in how well it understands current and likely future demand. It undertakes analysis to assess the demands for its services, including work to identify demands that are less likely to be reported and to better understand internal processes that create unnecessary work. An increase in 999 calls and staffing difficulties in the Metropolitan communications command have contributed to a reduction in call-handling performance, resulting in too many calls to the non-emergency 101 number going unanswered. This means that some people are not receiving the service that they need from the police. Initial response times in the two ‘pathfinder’ boroughs that are piloting the force’s programme to improve local policing have also increased, partly as a result of the transition to new ways of working. Systems for giving feedback are widely used but are not regarded highly by the workforce.
The force has made good progress in the areas for improvement identified in HMICFRS’ 2016 efficiency report, but it continues to require improvement in how well it uses its resources to manage current demand. It has built on the work it undertook in 2016 to understand the skills it needs in its workforce. However, a meaningful skills and capabilities audit has not been completed, which means that there are likely to be gaps in the workforce’s skills that have not been identified and addressed.
The force worked with the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime to set its priorities and take into consideration the public’s views on priorities in London. It has routine processes to help understand the demands for its services, though work to understand how changing costs will affect the level of service it can provide is in the early stages. The force is able to assess the financial benefits that it gets from changing the way it works, but further work is required to measure non-financial benefits. It is too soon to evaluate whether the force is getting a return for its investment under the One Met Model 2020 programme of changes, and collaboration work is still in its early stages, so benefits are anticipated and cannot be confirmed.
The force is good at planning for the future. It analyses different information to identify trends in demand; the results identified so far are being used to help plan how it will work in the future. The force is making very significant investment in new technology to improve the public’s access to its services, and the way in which it works. It is developing its approach to succession planning for senior leaders, and offers recruitment and development opportunities, mainly for officers, although development opportunities at an officer’s existing rank are immature. Its plans are ambitious and match its vision for the future, but its biggest challenge will be to make savings of £400m over the next three years.
How well does the force understand demand?
The Metropolitan Police Service requires improvement in how well it understands current and likely future demand. A rise in 999 calls and staffing difficulties in MetCC have contributed to a reduction in call-handling performance, particularly in respect of 101 calls, that is suppressing demand. Response times in the ‘pathfinder’ boroughs have also increased partly because of new ways of working. The force is aware of these problems and is taking action to address them.
The force has many ways for communicating with and listening to the workforce; they are widely used but are not regarded highly by the workforce. The strengthening local policing programme will completely change the way frontline policing is organised, but communication and engagement on this has been slow to develop. Some of the reasons for this are beyond the force’s control such as the need to consult the public and get mayoral approval for the changes, but the force now needs to engage fully with the workforce so these and other changes are not undermined.
Areas for improvement
- The force should ensure that it has sufficient capacity available within the Metropolitan communications command to fulfil its resourcing model, and so to meet its demand.
- The force should build upon the improvements it has made to its benefits identification and review processes so that it is able to fully assess non-financial benefits.
- The force should ensure it has credible processes in place to identify good ideas and innovation from the workforce.
How well does the force use its resources?
The Metropolitan Police Service requires improvement in how well it uses its resources to manage current demand. It has built on its 2016 work to understand the skills it needs in its workforce as a whole and requirements are regularly reviewed. However, the force has not completed a meaningful skills and capabilities audit, so there are likely to be gaps in the workforce’s skills that have not been identified and addressed.
The force worked with MOPAC to set its priorities and public views were considered. There are routine processes in place to understand the demands for its services, although the next stage of work, to understand how changing costs will affect the services it provides, has yet to be started. The force is able to quantify the financial benefits in many cases, but further work is required so that all benefits can be identified. It is too soon in the implementation of the OMM2020 programmes to evaluate the extent to which the force is getting a return for its investment. Progress in its collaboration work with the other ‘blue light’ services is also in its very early stages, so the force is not yet able to confirm the benefits.
Areas for improvement
- 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.
- The force should review the workforce skills and capabilities information that it already has, including for its leaders, to assure itself that its understanding is as comprehensive as it can be. It should then put in place plans to address any gaps. This will enable the force to be confident in its ability to be efficient in meeting current and likely future demand.
How well is the force planning for demand in the future?
The Metropolitan Police Service is good at how well it is planning for the future. The force analyses various information to identify trends in demand. This work is not complete, but the analysis to date is being used to help plan its response. Consideration has been given to changing public expectations in the force’s vision of the future, and its business plan sets out how it intends to achieve its priorities.
The force has plans for very significant investment in new technology to improve access to services as well as to streamline back office functions and make frontline policing more effective and efficient. It is developing its approach to succession planning for senior leaders, but it does not have a meaningful skills and capabilities audit and development opportunities at an officer’s existing rank are immature.
The force offers an extensive range of recruitment and development opportunities that it has decided to target at police officers. Its plans for change are ambitious and match its vision for the future. There are robust governance arrangements in place to monitor progress of OMM2020, but the force faces significant financial challenges over the next three years to make savings of £400m; this amount could increase if the government grant allocated to the force is reduced.