Hampshire PEEL 2018
How efficiently does the force operate and how sustainable are its services to the public?
Hampshire Constabulary is an efficient police force. Although it has a lower level of funding than most other forces in England and Wales, it uses its resources well and has a good track record of achieving savings and putting improvements in place to become more efficient.
The force has a balanced budget for this financial year. At the time of the inspection the force told us that without extra funding they will need to make greater savings in the 2020/21 financial year. There are high-level plans to achieve these if needed, but the force is clear that any further savings can only be achieved to the detriment of the service it provides to the public. Since our fieldwork the force has been allocated additional funding as part of the national uplift programme. The impact of the uplift will not be felt immediately but the force is not now under the same pressure to make these savings. We will continue to monitor the effect of any savings on service to
It is good at analysing future demand for its services and how it may need to respond. The force uses a range of data to understand demand and uses different processes to examine short, medium and long-term demand. It has worked with local authorities, academics and health services to look at the themes that will affect demand in the long term. It has also consulted the public on what it expects of police services.
It has made good use of force management statements in its future planning. Through this we can see how the force is identifying the demand and risks of the future and starting to change how it uses its resources to respond to these.
So, for instance, the force is aware of the effect of new technology on its services. It is improving its capacity to investigate IT-related crime by putting more resources into tackling internet-enabled crime. It has also changed how the public can access services and report crime by using a new online portal to let the public contact the police and report crime and accidents. The force has also recognised that it has a need for increased investigative capabilities and is changing how it uses some staff to achieve this.
In 2017 we judged Hampshire Constabulary 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.
However, there are two areas for improvement identified from this inspection:
- The force should review how it manages calls from the public that would justify the attendance of an officer but do not fall within the criteria for an urgent call. This is to ensure that excessive demand is not imposed on the control room or attending officers.
- The force should undertake appropriate activities to fully understand 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.
As part of our fieldwork we reviewed progress made by the force in these areas for improvement.
The force has made some progress in how it manages calls from the public. There is a pilot scheme which involves staff reviewing outstanding calls for service that haven’t yet been attended by an officer. It identifies those suitable for a scheduled appointment, which is arranged, and those that can be dealt with over the telephone. This scheme doesn’t operate throughout the whole force area and hasn’t yet been evaluated. We will revisit this area for improvement during our next inspection.
The force has made progress in understanding workforce capabilities. It is now better at recording workforce skills on its IT systems and is focused on understanding which skills are needed to meet demand. As part of the annual performance assessment process the force focuses on what it has termed ‘licence to police’, making sure that everyone’s training requirements are fully up to date.
How well does the force plan for the future?
Hampshire Constabulary has used a range of data and approaches to develop a realistic picture of future demand.
It has a balanced budget for the coming financial year and has used its planning to start to change how it uses its resources. There is a savings plan that releases resources for investment in higher demand areas. For example, reducing the numbers of police officers in investigation hubs and replacing them with less expensive police staff investigators.
This shifting of resources is driven by the force’s people plan which makes areas of greater demand a priority, such as digital media investigation and call handling staff. The people plan includes a ‘developing potential’ plan. This addresses an area for improvement identified in our 2017 efficiency inspection, when we said the force could do more to identify high-potential staff.
The force is aware of the effect of new technology on its services. It is building capacity to investigate IT-related crime and is changing how the public can access services and report crime. However, without extra funding the force will need to make greater savings for the 2020/21 financial year and has identified where these savings will be made. It projects that these savings could lead to a reduced service to the public, especially if current demand increases.Detailed findings for question 2