Dorset PEEL 2018
How efficiently does the force operate and how sustainable are its services to the public?
We judge Dorset Police to be good in terms of its efficiency and sustainability.
The force has detailed plans for the future, based on its analysis of a range of data. There is a culture of continuous improvement in Dorset Police, which is supported by the right leadership and governance.
It could do more, however, to find out what the public’s priorities are in terms of policing, and use that information to shape its services.
Dorset Police has a balanced budget for the 2019/20 financial year. Its financial plans are realistic and have been scrutinised by external experts. The force has a strong record of making financial savings.
In 2017, we judged the force to be good at meeting current demands and using resources.
How well does the force use its resources to meet the demand it faces?
This question was not subject to detailed inspection in 2018/19, and our judgment from the 2017 efficiency inspection has been carried over.
How well does the force plan for the future?
Dorset Police designs future services to meet its priorities, and these plans are built on a firm evidence base. It has invested in technology to understand patterns and predict trends. These indicate a potential 8 percent increase in demand over the next 12 months. The force has modelled the impact if this prediction is greater or less than anticipated.
It needs to do more, however, to understand hidden demand. It also needs to give more weight to public consultation, such as that led by the office of the police and crime commissioner (OPCC), which gives the force an insight into what the public expects. We found limited evidence that the force had used the consultation to inform its plans for future policing.
The priorities in the force’s police and crime plan 2017–21 are clear, and resources have been allocated appropriately. They include protecting people at risk of harm, working with communities, supporting victims and witnesses, reducing reoffending, and internal restructuring.
The force has a good knowledge of the skills and experience of its workforce. It has done a skills audit, which identified some gaps in leadership and digital skills, and it is addressing these through tailored training programmes planned for this year.
Dorset Police has a balanced budget for the 2019/20 financial year. Both the budget and the force’s medium-term financial plan are based on realistic assumptions and they have been subject to expert scrutiny. The force has a strong record of achieving financial savings.
Areas for improvement
- The force should ensure that public expectation is sought and considered in the planning and design of future policing services.
- The force’s understanding of current demand is good. However, more needs to be done to understand future pressures and to work effectively with other organisations to address them.