Sussex PEEL 2017
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Sussex 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 is judged to be good in its understanding of demand; it is judged to require improvement for its use of resources to manage demand; and its planning for future demand is judged to be good.
Sussex Police has a good understanding of demand for its services. The force has carried out demand analysis on specific areas of activity and has expanded its understanding of demand through its work on the local policing model and other change programmes. The force recognises it could do more to improve its understanding of hidden demand, and is taking steps to bring all of its demand analysis together to give it a better overall picture.
The force is improving its understanding of the things that affect demand. Some inefficient processes in the control room may have contributed to a large number of 101 calls being abandoned, but the force is taking action to address this problem. It does not have a single governance process for managing efficiency and relies on its engagement with the workforce to identify inefficient processes and systems. The force has a limited understanding of the skills and capabilities of its workforce, including its leaders, because it has not undertaken a force-wide skills and capabilities audit. This makes it difficult to plan recruitment and training.
The force has allocated resources based on its new local policing model but an unanticipated increase in demand since the model was introduced means the workforce is stretched and the force is struggling to meet demand. Neighbourhood policing, and therefore prevention activity, is being negatively affected by reduced resources. The force is monitoring this closely.
The force works well with other agencies to reduce demand collectively and has strong collaborative arrangements with other police forces and partner organisations. Its collaboration with East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service shows early signs of developing into an effective partnership arrangement. The force has a good understanding of the benefits of new technology and is collaborating with Surrey Police on an IT strategy. It is open to innovative ideas and works with external companies, consultants and academics to seek improvements. The force’s plans are realistic and have been subject to external scrutiny and challenge. Financial plans are well integrated with workforce and IT plans. The force aims to achieve its savings targets while investing for the future.
How well does the force understand demand?
Sussex Police has a good understanding of its demand and has undertaken complex demand analysis and assessment across several areas of the force. At a local level, the force is using crime information systems to monitor officers’ workloads, identify crime trends and prepare information on crimes from the previous 24 hours for consideration in the daily force management meeting. However, it has gaps in its understanding of internal demand and it could improve its understanding and awareness of hidden demand. The force recognises that all the demand analysis needs to be brought together and is collaborating with Surrey Police on better demand analysis/prediction technology and capability.
The force could improve its understanding of the things that affect demand. It does not have a single governance process, but instead uses various methods to manage efficiency. The force relies on its engagement with staff to identify inefficient processes and systems, but although it seeks and responds to ideas from the workforce, some staff feel they are not listened to. There are some inefficient processes in the control room in relation to 101 calls, meaning that the force is potentially missing crimes that should be reported and the public are not receiving the service that they should, but it is now addressing this.
The implementation of the new model coincided with an unanticipated increase in demand, which has left the force feeling stretched. The force is monitoring this closely. It is aware of the risks from its prioritisation processes and risk assessment models and is increasing the level of scrutiny in those areas. The force has some processes in place to identify benefits and unintended consequences of its change programmes, and is hoping to improve this further as part of joint work with Surrey Police.
Areas for improvement
- The force should ensure that it reviews the function and processes within the control room, including the application of a structured risk assessment based on the levels of threat, harm, risk and vulnerability (THRIVE).
How well does the force use its resources?
Sussex Police has a limited understanding of the skills and capabilities of its workforce, including its leaders. The force has not undertaken a force-wide skills and capabilities audit and therefore cannot determine what gaps it has or plan recruitment and training effectively. Although it regularly reviews its workforce requirements over the next 12 months, it could benefit from looking further ahead to identify areas where people with specific skills might leave and then develop staff to fill the predicted gaps. The force is collaborating with Surrey Police to gain a more comprehensive understanding of leadership skills and capabilities, using their revised joint leadership framework.
The force has allocated resources based on its new local policing model, which it hopes will save the force £21.5m over the next two to four years, but demand has increased since the model’s phased implementation began and it is struggling to meet it. Neighbourhood policing is being affected by a reduction in the number of officers and high levels of reallocation to other work, which is detrimental to prevention activity. The force is not as flexible as it could be in matching resources to demand. Although it does redeploy resources on a daily basis to meet minimum staffing levels, it is not clear how it ensures that this does not have a negative effect on other areas of the force and its service to the public.
Sussex Police prioritises its investments and works well with partner organisations to reduce and manage demand collectively. The force has a strong partnership with Surrey Police and collaborates with other forces in the region. Its collaboration with East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service is showing early signs of developing into an effective partnership arrangement. The force is good at looking externally for innovative ideas and works with companies, specialist consultants and academic partners to improve how it works.
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 wellbeing of its workforce.
- The force should undertake appropriate activities to understand fully 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.
How well is the force planning for demand in the future?
Sussex Police has carried out comprehensive data analysis to inform its change programmes and has developed data analysis in other areas to try to reduce demand. The force has some understanding of future demand through reviewing the principal threats, risks and emerging problems identified through intelligence and analysis of crime data. However, there are areas of the force, such as the control room, where predictive data analysis could be used more effectively. Although the force does engage with the public to seek their views, it needs to do more to be able to track changes in public expectations.
The force has a good understanding of technological advances and how they may improve efficiency and secure savings. It is collaborating with Surrey Police to develop an IT strategy that so far has 15 transformation programmes. The force is also working well with other forces and emergency services to manage costs collectively.
The force has a limited understanding of the skills in needs in future leaders and could do more to ensure that there is adequate succession planning. However, it is making good use of external development opportunities such as the constable to inspector Fast Track scheme and the Police Now programme.
The force’s plans for the future are realistic and practical, and have been subject to external scrutiny and challenge. Its financial plans are well integrated with its workforce and IT plans. The force aims to achieve its savings targets while investing for the future.