Staffordshire PEEL 2017
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Staffordshire Police 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 has maintained a good understanding of demand; its use of resources to manage demand is judged to be good; and it is judged to require improvement for its planning for future demand.
Staffordshire Police has been assessed as good in the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. The force has effective methods of understanding the current level of demand on its services and likely changes to demand. However, the basis of evidence from which it draws this understanding is only partially complete. As some calls from the public go unanswered, it cannot reliably quantify the complete demand for its services. Mapping of the main business processes is providing a firm foundation for the force’s proposed new operating model. This will help Staffordshire Police to makes changes and operate more efficiently.
The force is developing its knowledge of the skills and capabilities of both the workforce and its leaders. It has changed the promotions processes, for example, to gear them more precisely towards those skills that the force requires. However, Staffordshire Police could do more to develop talent and open up career opportunities. The force has taken into account both national and local policing priorities in allocating resources intelligently to different areas. It continues to demonstrate a strong commitment to joint work with public and private-sector partners. It is open also to collaborating with other police forces where the benefits of this are clear.
While Staffordshire Police has made significant progress in developing its plans, further work is required. Its plans to secure those savings necessitated by budgetary constraints are not developed fully. The force must make sure that its plans for the future are underpinned by a more accurate understanding of the demands it is likely to face.
How well does the force understand demand?
Staffordshire Police has many effective practices in place designed to help it understand the demand on its services. For example, it shares data with other organisations to understand communities that may have less trust and confidence in the police. This provides valuable insight into patterns of offending that might otherwise have remained hidden. However, there is evidence that the volume of calls that the contact centre receives is outstripping the available resources. This means that some calls are not answered. Another consequence is that the force has an incomplete understanding of the demand for its services. Effective processes, such as digital mapping, are in place to identify inefficiencies and improve the force’s work. This will also include a diagnostic tool known as the model office, which the force intends will enable it to test new initiatives before it puts them into practice. The force is committed to responding to ideas from the workforce in terms of innovation and change. We heard several examples of tangible improvements that have been introduced as a result.
Areas for improvement
- The force should ensure that it has sufficient resources available in the control room to fulfil its resourcing model, and so to meet its demand, while also taking into account the wellbeing of its workforce.
How well does the force use its resources?
Staffordshire Police is developing its understanding of the current and future skills and capabilities of its workforce. It has used external consultants to develop this understanding beyond the operational skills of the workforce; the process of identifying the standards of leadership required for each role in the force is underway. Through external recruitment and use of contemporary selection techniques, such as psychometric testing, it is creating promotion processes directed towards the skills and capabilities that it requires.
The force has introduced a new leadership passport and development course, although these initiatives are only in their early stages. In deciding its operational priorities, the force takes into account both national policing requirements and local priorities, which it assesses through analysis and consulting the community. This enables the force to allocate resources intelligently to different areas. It uses the THRIVE model that assesses the harm or risks to which individuals may be exposed so that it can provide the service that meets their specific needs.
The force ensures it possesses a strong base of evidence for its investments through its established benefits realisation process. This gives the force a clear understanding of the success of its investments. The force continues to demonstrate a strong commitment to joint work with public and private-sector partners. It is open to collaborative agreements with other police forces where the business case for doing so is clear. Staffordshire Police actively seeks opportunities to improve its service externally. The development of academic links with local universities also helps to introduce modern and innovative ways of working into the force.
How well is the force planning for demand in the future?
Detailed analysis has improved the force’s understanding both of current and future demand. However, the base of evidence on which it relies for this analysis is only partially complete because of the volume of calls from the public that are not being answered. The force has a strong track record in making the best use of opportunities in technology, for example, in the use of mobile data terminals. Specialist capabilities within its digital intelligence team are helping it to meet the evolving challenges of online offending and computer-based crime.
The force continues to have close and constructive working relationships with other public and private-sector organisations. The force could do more to develop leadership opportunities more widely. These opportunities are weighted more towards police officers than towards police staff. We found evidence of the force using external recruitment to strengthen the overall capabilities of the leadership, including the engagement of specialists to develop its talent enablement strategy. However, the force could make greater use of some national selection programmes that offer opportunities to recruit talented individuals directly into senior ranks.
The force has made significant progress in developing its future plans. However, further work is needed to ensure that the plans represent fully the required savings that budgetary forecasts have identified. Although the force’s assumptions underpinning the current financial plans are prudent, plans to achieve the required savings are not fully formulated. The force’s finance department also continues to suffer from a lack of capacity.
Areas for improvement
- The force should ensure it has adequate plans in place to show it can provide services, while also making necessary cost savings.