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Dorset PEEL 2017


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

Last updated 09/11/2017

Dorset Police is judged to be good in the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. Our overall judgment this year is the same as last year. The force is judged to be good in its understanding of demand; its use of resources to manage demand is assessed to be good; and its planning for future demand is also judged to be good.

Dorset Police is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. It is an efficient police force with clear plans in place for the future. It has a well-developed understanding of the demands for its services, which allows it to make informed decisions about planning and resourcing. Because of this, it is in a strong position for the next phase of its strategic alliance with Devon and Cornwall Police. This will see the introduction of a new, joint model for service provision aimed at transforming how both forces operate. Within the force’s call handling department there are some pressures but the force understands what the problems are. It has now put processes in place to prioritise calls from those people who are most at risk.

The force generally makes good use of its resources. Its investment plans align with the police and crime plan. The plans focus on the benefits that the structured use of new technology can bring to both the public and to the organisation. The force needs to improve its understanding of the skills and leadership potential of its workforce. It has a good track record of working together with other organisations and understands the benefits to be gained.

Dorset Police is planning for its future in a coherent way. The work it has done to identify potential future demand is impressive. The force knows that it needs to replace some inefficient systems and processes to provide a solid basis for its planned changes. In contrast, it does not yet have a clear picture of its future leadership needs. However, the strengths of its existing change programme provide a degree of confidence that the ambitious scale of future change is achievable, both because of its organisational capability and because of its financial position.

Questions for Efficiency


How well does the force understand demand?


Dorset Police is good at understanding demand for its services. Its demand assessment methodology is comprehensive, well integrated and evolving. It provides high quality information which the force can rely on to make planning and resourcing decisions. Good demand and change management decision-making arrangements are in place, with established and successful methodologies for risk management and for the realisation of anticipated benefits. Within the force control room, there is a structured approach to demand management, but peak periods of demand for service remain problematic. The force has ambitious future change plans and has processes to engage with the workforce, but needs to review the effectiveness of these processes.


How well does the force use its resources?


Dorset Police is good in the way it uses its resources. It has a good understanding of the skills it needs to operate effectively and well-developed plans for recruitment and training, although it would benefit from a more comprehensive understanding of skills across the whole workforce. The force has a developing understanding of its future leadership needs with plans in place to broaden the leadership training it provides. As its strategic alliance change programme (PRISM) develops, it needs to conduct a new leadership skills audit that will allow it to understand leadership capacity and capability. The force prioritises its activity well, based on a good understanding of the demand for its services and agile use of resources. The main focus of its investments in future years is aligned to the objectives of the police and crime commissioner and supported by the PRISM programme. In addition to its close relationship with Devon and Cornwall Police, the force has good collaborative links with other police and partner organisations across the region. It has a clear understanding of the benefits of joint working and is open to new ideas and innovation to improve the way that it operates.

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?


Dorset Police has developed good plans for the future. In particular, the work it has done to identify potential future demand for service is impressive. The force has made a good start in developing a transformational approach to its future policing services that incorporates joint working, public feedback and the effect of technology. The understanding of future leadership needs is less defined, but should become clearer as change plans evolve. The force’s plans for the future are ambitious, but realistic when considered against collaboration progress already made. The change programme is well resourced and the force plans for future savings seem achievable so long as momentum is maintained.