Hampshire PEEL 2017
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Hampshire Constabulary 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.
Hampshire Constabulary has a good understanding of demand for its services, including demand that is less likely to be reported, that is based on systematic analysis of comprehensive data from a wide range of sources. The force has processes in place to help it to predict demand and has consulted widely to understand how demand and the public’s expectations may change. It has improved its knowledge of the skills of its workforce and its leaders. A new personal development review process that includes a formal annual appraisal should provide the force with a deeper understanding of its workforce’s skills. The force is improving its leadership capabilities through training and recruitment.
The force seeks ideas and feedback from the workforce and is working hard to ensure that everyone feels that they are participants in the changes taking place, but not all who we spoke with felt their views were valued. Overall, the force prioritises its activities well and it has a good understanding of the effect of investments or cuts in resources on service provision or return on investment.
Hampshire Constabulary has developed excellent working relationships with other organisations, such as the ambulance and fire & rescue services. It has strong and increasing numbers of collaborative working arrangements with other police forces, especially Thames Valley Police. These collaborations are providing both cost savings and a better service to the public. The force makes good use of technology. For example, mobile technology reduces the need for frontline officers and staff to continually return to their bases; and a new contact management system should improve the efficiency of call management and provide the public with online tools for contacting the police. All potential change projects are assessed against the force’s vision and the benefits they will bring. Project management arrangements are robust with a clear focus on realising benefits. The force’s financial plans are achievable but its current financial assumptions mean that it will need to identify and achieve further savings for the 2019/20 financial year.
How well does the force understand demand?
Hampshire Constabulary has a very good understanding of demand for its services, based on systematic analysis of comprehensive data from a wide range of sources. The force has worked with external consultants to refine its knowledge using demand-modelling software. It has collected data about the frequency and types of calls for service and crimes reported, including the time spent on each type of call or crime. The force has a good understanding of complex and hidden demand and recognises that this type of demand requires more resources; for example, it has identified domestic abuse incidents have increased over the past 12 months and high levels of under-reporting of rural crime. The demand forecasting team analyses demand and works to predict future demand, including changes resulting from moving resources from one area of the force to another.
The force has effective governance processes to ensure that it is efficient. Its knowledge of demand and response allows it to simulate different scenarios that might result from a change programme and identify their effects on service. There are safeguards to make sure that the way the force risk-assesses calls from the public does not suppress demand, although it needs to ensure that these are consistently dealt with in an efficient way through the most appropriate response.
Hampshire Constabulary has ways for the workforce to suggest ideas and provide feedback. Although it is clear chief officers value their contributions, not all officers and staff we spoke with believed they could influence change.
Areas for improvement
- The force should review how it manages calls from the public that would justify the attendance of an officer but do not fall within the criteria for an urgent call. This is to ensure that excessive demand is not imposed on the control room or attending officers.
How well does the force use its resources?
Hampshire Constabulary has a good understanding of the skills of its workforce. The force has a computer-assisted resource management system that provides a searchable database of operational and personal skills held by officers and staff. It can overlay information from the current duty roster to identify officers and staff on duty with a particular skill. The force has an acceptable understanding of the skills it needs in the future from assessing its current skills base against predicted future need. It has recognised the need to increase skills in digital investigation, PIP level 2 accredited investigators and the diversity of its workforce.
The force has some understanding of the capabilities of its leaders, although this is more developed at a senior level. It recently introduced a new performance development review process that includes a formal annual appraisal, which should provide the force with a deeper understanding of leadership skills throughout the force. However, this is currently a paper-based system so is difficult to obtain an overall assessment of leadership capabilities and gaps. The force plans to address this by creating an IT-based system in collaboration with other police forces in the south-east region. The steps the force is taking to improve its leadership capabilities through training and recruitment are good.
Hampshire Constabulary uses its good knowledge of current demand to prioritise its activities. The force has undertaken comprehensive analysis to identify the resource levels needed for its operating model and routinely reviews demand through its force tasking and co-ordination group. It prioritises resource allocation based on its understanding of threat, harm and risk, while taking account of national policing requirements. The force has a sensible and intelligent approach to making investments and uses the change prioritisation matrix to assess the extent to which any investment will reduce inefficiency. It is investing in new contact management arrangements which should improve the efficiency of call management and provide the public with an online method for contacting the police and receiving information.
The force has a strong commitment to joint working. It collaborates with other forces, agencies such as social services and the probation service, and the ambulance and fire services. Its estate strategy has led to shared workspaces, which have promoted good working relationships and easier communication with partner agencies. The force consistently experiments with new approaches to working more efficiently and seeks out new opportunities. For example it is involved with Portsmouth University’s digital forensic science facility and digital intelligence research.
Areas for improvement
- The force should undertake appropriate activities to fully understand its workforce’s capabilities, in order to identify any gaps and put plans in place to address them. This will enable the force to be confident in its ability to be efficient in meeting current and likely future demand.
How well is the force planning for demand in the future?
Hampshire Constabulary has a good understanding of trends in demand and can therefore plan the resources it is likely to need in the next two to three years. The force recognises that reported crime is increasing and uses its forecasting tool to model the effect of changes in demand throughout the force. It has consulted with different communities, including vulnerable people and young people, to identify their expectations and develop its view of the future. The force is restructuring how it uses technology through its digital delivery strategy, which outlines how it will use technology to provide better services to the public, prevent crime and work more efficiently.
The force understands the skills its leaders need in the future and has created development opportunities to help staff to acquire them. It provides leadership development modules that include classroom-based instruction supported by online resources, coaching and 360-degree feedback, as well as internal and external secondments. The force is also using recruitment to create a more diverse workforce. However, it could identify talented members of the workforce more effectively and make better use of succession planning.
Hampshire Constabulary’s plans for the future take account of anticipated future demand and are subject to robust scrutiny and challenge. It has realistic financial plans that include investing in infrastructure, such as IT and estate, which will lead to savings in the long term and will improve its service to the public. For example, mobile technology will allow its workforce to do more without needing to return to their bases. This in turn will allow the force to realign its estate to provide a better but smaller estate to maintain.
Areas for improvement
- The force should improve how it identifies talented members of the workforce, and make greater use of career development schemes by taking a more structured approach to how it develops leaders in important areas of the force.