Sussex PEEL 2018
How efficiently does the force operate and how sustainable are its services to the public?
Sussex Police has a good understanding of public demand. The force uses specialist software to understand the nature and complexity of the crimes it deals with and how these shape demand.
However, the force’s approach to managing demand isn’t working as it expects. For example, officers gave examples of inefficiencies in their roles. These included travelling long distances to deal with prisoners in custody who could be dealt with by officers nearby. Also, officers work in isolation, which may mean they are duplicating the work of other staff.
The force is under pressure. Officers face high levels of stress and sickness. Calls are being missed. For example, in March 2019, 45 percent of calls transferred to 101 were abandoned.
The force is good at working with outside partners like the ambulance service to make sure it can support vulnerable people who repeatedly contact the emergency services.
The force will recruit an extra 100 PCSOs to expand its prevention teams and help manage local priorities. Change programme governance has improved and management of low-risk incidents is now good.
Sussex Police is good at planning future demand using innovative technology. It is working hard to understand future demand and how its complexity will shape its response.
How well does the force use its resources to meet the demand it faces?
Sussex Police has a good understanding of public demand. The force is using specialist software to help it understand how the crime it deals with affects demand. However, it is struggling to meet current demand.
For example, in March 2019, 45 percent of calls transferred to 101 were abandoned. On average, over the year to March 2019, 43 percent of public 101 calls transferred to the contact centre from the switchboard were not answered.
Records show that the force is regularly finding it difficult to resource demand for incidents that need prompt or immediate attendance. It is currently looking to understand why.
The force will recruit an extra 100 PCSOs to expand its prevention teams and help manage local priorities. However, officers in investigation teams are routinely taken away to support response teams. This halts progress on investigating crimes.
Sussex Police works with other organisations to reduce demand and give a better service to the public. For example, the force dedicates one person to review high-volume repeat calls. It also works with partners like the ambulance service to make sure it can support vulnerable people who repeatedly contact the emergency services. Over a two-year period, this approach has successfully reduced repeat calls by 6,000.
The force finds innovative ways to develop new funding. It has employed staff with specific skills to develop this work. For example, the force has employed a town and country planner to get financial contributions from private developers under the Town and Country Planning Act (1990). It has already secured £1m as a result.
Areas for improvement
- The force should review its assessment and management of demand and make the necessary changes to meet current demand.
- The force should review its existing policies in relation to the local policing model to ensure they are being implemented and are working as intended.
How well does the force plan for the future?
The force has improved how it identifies future demand for its services. Its new digital division will look at the risks and opportunities from technology used by the police
The force has a good understanding of what the public expects of it. The PCC carries out extensive public consultation, including monthly online polls on matters of interest to local people, series of county-wide focus groups and larger community conversations alongside the chief constable. This helps the PCC understand the public’s view of, and confidence levels in, Sussex Police and helps inform the police and crime plan.
The force is trying to balance public expectation and demand. It has comprehensively analysed its data to identify and categorise gaps in demand and capability across the force. It identified gaps in local policing, specifically response and prevention teams. This is mainly because demand is increasingly complex.
The force is good at financial planning. It raised £24m in increased council tax and used some reserves to smooth the change over time. In 2019/2020, 90 percent of this money has been spent on officers and staff posts.
Areas for improvement
- The force should undertake appropriate activities to understand fully its workforce’s capacity and capability to identify any gaps in meeting future requirements, put plans in place to address these, and carry these out.