Skip to content

Devon and Cornwall PEEL 2017


How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?

Last updated 09/11/2017

Devon and Cornwall Police is judged to be good in the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. Our overall judgment this year is an improvement on last year. The force’s understanding of demand is judged to require improvement; its use of resources to manage demand is judged to be good; and its planning for future demand is also assessed to be good.

Devon and Cornwall Police is an efficient police force, but it still has work to do to improve further. Over the past year, the force has worked hard to achieve a much better understanding of the demand for its services placed upon it by the public, and also of demand created internally. It is now in a strong position to move to the next phase of its alliance with Dorset Police and introduce a new service model intended to transform how both forces operate. However, it faces continuing performance pressures within its call handling function. These pressures need addressing to ensure that it provides a good service to people wanting to contact the police.

The force has a good understanding of its overall capabilities, but needs to understand better, and make best use of, the skills and leadership potential of its workforce. It has clear investment plans, aligned with the police and crime plan, focusing on the benefits that a structured use of new technology can bring to the public and the force. It has an excellent record in partnership working, with a clear focus on the potential benefits. Its willingness to seek and implement new ideas from both within and outside the force is noteworthy.

The force’s understanding of the future demand for its services that it is likely to face is developing well. To make the most of its plans for the future use of technology, the force knows it needs to address some current inefficiencies in its systems and processes. Similarly, there is a recognition that the force does not yet have a clear picture of its future leadership needs. However, the strengths of its existing change programme indicate that the ambitious scale of the force’s plans is achievable, both in the organisational ability to manage change, and in the force’s sound financial position.

Questions for Efficiency


How well does the force understand demand?

Requires improvement

Devon and Cornwall Police has a good understanding of the broad range of demand for its services. It has developed a demand assessment framework that enables it to conduct effective business analysis and informs resourcing decisions. The focus on becoming more efficient and the involvement of staff who can suggest change is welcomed. The force is moving towards much closer working with Dorset Police and is well placed to make progress in assessing and prioritising demand across the strategic alliance in support of the joint change programme. However, the effectiveness of the force control room, a critical area that affects overall force demand and performance, needs to improve. Short-term and long-term problems need addressing so that the service provided to the public remains at acceptable levels.

Areas for improvement

  • The force needs to improve its call-handling systems and processes to ensure that service quality remains at acceptable levels and crime-recording standards are adhered to.


How well does the force use its resources?


Devon and Cornwall Police has a good understanding of the capabilities of the organisation as a whole, but needs to do more to understand the skills of individual officers and staff beyond operational needs. It also needs a better understanding of its current leadership capabilities, and to do more planning for the future. The force is good at prioritising its demand, and is able to flex its resources well in response to need. The force has clear investment plans, supported by the police and crime commissioner, which focus on improving services by introducing more capable IT systems and physical infrastructure. We found several good examples of collaborative working between the force and other partner organisations and the force is well aware of the benefits. The willingness of the force to learn from others and implement good practice from elsewhere is both refreshing and positive.

Areas for improvement

  • The force should conduct a ‘whole force’ leadership and skills audit that will allow it to understand leadership capacity and capability better. This should help to inform the force’s succession planning with regards to its future leadership requirements.


How well is the force planning for demand in the future?


Devon and Cornwall Police understands future trends in demand, and its view of the future is well informed by its communication with the public. It has a good understanding of how new technology can be transformative in shaping the future of policing, but it needs to act now to correct some current problems. The implementation of up-to-date technology to support present-day policing has begun. The force does not yet have a proper understanding of its future leadership requirements, and external recruitment occurs of necessity more often for police officers than for staff. The PRISM programme is ambitious, yet provides a realistic view of where the force needs to move to in coming years. The continuing successful alliance with Dorset Police, with all the benefits realised to date, provides assurance that the force’s plans are credible. The force is financially sound, with a good record of achieving savings and attracting innovation funding.