South Yorkshire PEEL 2016
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
South Yorkshire Police has been assessed as requires improvement in respect of the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime.
South Yorkshire Police has limited understanding of current and future demand and workforce capability. This is affecting adversely the quality of services it currently provides. The force has recognised this and, with peer and partner support, it is looking to develop its current and future plans to better meet the needs of the public.
South Yorkshire Police has a good understanding of reactive demand based on recorded incidents and crime. It has a limited understanding of current preventative and future demand. This is a deterioration in the force’s position since our last efficiency inspection in 2015.
The force implemented a new operating model at a time when it did not properly understand its workforce capability and capacity. The force has resourced its highest priorities but has not been able to provide the full range of services envisaged by the operating model, including resilient call handling and 24-hour community policing. The force does not have an up-to-date workforce plan which aligns established posts with the operating model. The staffing levels within the contact management centre mean that the force cannot consistently answer non-emergency calls from the public. The demands on local policing team officers mean that community engagement and preventative policing is diminishing.
The force has a medium-term financial plan based on sound assumptions. It has recognised the need to improve its understanding of current and future demand and workforce requirements. It is working with peer support to address these gaps and develop its future plans.
How well does the force understand the current and likely future demand?
South Yorkshire Police has an incomplete understanding of current demand. The force has a good understanding of the more obvious areas of demand, including reported incidents and crime. It does not comprehensively assess all areas of demand, in particular preventative demands in local communities. The way the force has reorganised local policing means that officers have less capacity to engage with local communities and partner organisations to build an understanding of demand and how to manage it better. The force recognises the need to improve its understanding of all sources of current demand, in order to develop a more effective operating model. However, HMIC is concerned that the force does not currently have the resources in place to achieve this.
The force and its partners are developing their understanding of the demands from complex families and how to redistribute resources to early intervention to prevent crisis and harm.
The force has taken only limited steps to understand emerging and future demand and has no coherent plan to develop a more comprehensive knowledge base. It has taken some steps to understand and reduce unnecessary demand and inefficient activities.
Cause of concern
South Yorkshire Police’s limited understanding of current and likely future demand is a cause of concern, because further analysis is needed by the force to develop a complete picture of demand including under-reporting of crime, inefficient working practices which generate unnecessary demand, and greater engagement with communities and partners to more fully understand issues which may inform early intervention, prevention and problem solving opportunities.
To address the cause for concern HMIC recommends that, within three months of publication of this report, the force should carry out a comprehensive assessment of current and likely future demand and use this to inform the development of a new operating model that meets the needs of local communities. To achieve this the force should:
- ensure that the team carrying out the assessment has the correct staffing numbers, skills and technological support;
- engage the workforce, public and partners; and
- draw on national expertise and best practice.
How well does the force use its resources to manage current demand?
The way South Yorkshire Police uses its resources to meet current demand is inadequate. It introduced a new model to provide policing services in 2015.
The model was built on a limited understanding of the wide range of demands that the force faces. The service to the public is inconsistent and at times poor. Its response to calls from the public is particularly poor. The risks are deemed to be so great that the force is currently managing its call-handling services as a critical incident.
The force does not have an up-to-date workforce plan which aligns established posts to the operating model, and the capacity and capability of staff are not well understood. The staffing levels within the contact management centre mean that the force cannot consistently answer non-emergency calls from the public. The demands on local policing team officers mean that community engagement and preventative policing is diminishing.
The collaboration with Humberside Police is showing demonstrable benefits in the use of information technology, but the HR shared service is not currently meeting the needs of the force in terms of service delivery and standards. Some steps have been taken towards effective blue-light collaboration and the force is working with partners in mental health to improve services and reduce demands.
Cause of concern
The absence of a comprehensive workforce plan and understanding of the force’s current workforce capability and capacity in South Yorkshire Police is a cause of concern, which compromises the force’s ability to match resources to demand and align workforce costs with the force budget.
To address the cause for concern HMIC recommends that within six months of publication of this report the force should develop and implement a coherent workforce plan by:
- reviewing the capacity and capability of the HR shared service to deliver the support required at strategic and local levels;
- identifying and allocating posts in line with its revised operating model and priorities;
- analysing skills and capabilities of the workforce; and
- addressing identified gaps in the workforce capability and capacity.
How well is the force planning for demand in the future?
South Yorkshire Police requires improvement in how well it is planning for demand in the future. The force’s medium-term budget is based upon prudent financial assumptions. However, the financial plans are not linked to workforce plans and the force does not have a complete understanding of future demand for its services or workforce requirements. The force is using peer support to help develop future plans, which must address deficiencies in the current operating model.
South Yorkshire Police has a track record of working with other police services to achieve savings. It is in the early stages of collaboration with other blue light services and the Sheffield City Partnership Board.
Cause of concern
The absence of a coherent set of future plans in South Yorkshire Police is a cause of concern, because the financial plans are not linked to the workforce plans and the force does not have a complete understanding of future demand or workforce requirements.
To address this cause for concern HMIC recommends that within three months of publication of this report the force should work with partners and expert support to explicitly link its financial plans with the revised operating model, the revised operational plans and revised workforce plans. All of which must be informed by a comprehensive understanding of demand.