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Warwickshire PEEL 2018

Efficiency

How efficiently does the force operate and how sustainable are its services to the public?

Last updated 27/09/2019
Requires improvement

Warwickshire Police requires improvement in how it meets demand and uses resources.

Currently, the force shares many services with West Mercia Police. These include major crime investigations, business support services (including HR, finance, fleet and estates) and specialist services. It will be particularly important for Warwickshire Police to fully understand the demands on these services.

As both forces exit the alliance, there is no certainty as to how they will provide these services in the future. It is vital that adequate provision is maintained to enable them to meet demand.

Warwickshire Police is inadequate at planning for the future.

Warwickshire Police has a good understanding of the demands on its services but needs to fully anticipate future demand pressures. We are concerned that its important work to gain this understanding may be interrupted as the force’s relationship with West Mercia Police changes.

Given the substantial change to its operating model, the force should consult the public about its post-alliance planning.

By 8 October 2019, when the alliance will terminate, Warwickshire Police must have plans in place to maintain the full range of public services, especially in areas of highest risk.

Questions for Efficiency

1

How well does the force use its resources to meet the demand it faces?

Requires improvement

Warwickshire Police requires improvement in meeting current demands and using resources.

The force has a good understanding of service demands. This is helped by its long-standing arrangement with a commercial partner. The latest adjustments to its operating model include a change in shift patterns, so that more officers are available at times of peak demand, and the introduction of IPTs. However, there are times when the force struggles to meet demand. And it has yet to find the best investigative model to meet its needs.

The imminent end of the force’s strategic alliance with West Mercia Police has an impact on shared services, finances and future plans. This is a cause of concern. We are concerned that the full range of public services may be interrupted by the ending of the alliance.

The force must work quickly to gain a full understanding of the cost of services. And it needs to decide how best to operate post-alliance. By October 2019, it must have plans in place to maintain the full range of public services, especially in areas of highest risk.

The force’s joint working ethos, and its substantial investment in technology over the next four years, may enable it to reap benefits in the future.

Cause of concern

The force does not have suitable arrangements in place to make sure it can maintain the full range of public services when its alliance with West Mercia Police ends. There are gaps in its workforce skills assessment and weaknesses in its investigative approach.

Recommendations

To address this cause of concern, we recommend that the force should immediately:

  • put in place plans to maintain the full range of public services by October 2019, particularly in the areas of highest risk;
  • expand the skills project work to include an assessment of all skills, not only operational, and potential future skills requirements too, using this assessment to inform workforce planning; and
  • conduct a review of the capability and capacity of officers to manage their investigative workload, to better understand investigative demand and the pressures placed upon officers.
Detailed findings for question 1

2

How well does the force plan for the future?

Inadequate

Warwickshire Police’s planning for the future is inadequate.

As it defines its new, post-alliance operating model, the force must develop an accurate understanding of future demand pressures. The force recognises this. It needs to fully understand the demands on those services it currently shares with West Mercia Police. It is of paramount and immediate importance to assure the continuation of these services beyond 8 October 2019.

There is little evidence of the force consulting the public about its post-alliance planning. Given the substantial change to its operating model, the force should ask the public for its views, including on areas of new or continued collaboration.

Financially, we expect both forces to maintain public services and economies of scale, to avoid increased costs and to keep their overheads to a minimum.

Currently, Warwickshire Police is growing its workforce. Its investment in people should bring future benefits. But it must make sure that it maintains its recruitment and training capability if it is to achieve its recruitment aims. It also needs to better understand the skills of its workforce.

Cause of concern

The force has not yet defined how all of its services to the public will operate in the future, nor has it agreed a smooth transition to a future operating model. And it has not consulted with the public on these important matters.

Recommendations

To address this cause of concern, we recommend that the force should immediately:

  • clearly define its new operating model, ensuring all operational and support services are affordable and fit to protect the communities of Warwickshire;
  • agree arrangements with West Mercia Police to secure a smooth transition to its future operating model, ensuring no disruption to public services; and
  • the force should improve its arrangements both to consult with the public about business planning and to feed back on changes made to service delivery as a result of such consultation.
Detailed findings for question 2