Kent PEEL 2017
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
Kent 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 outstanding in its understanding of demand; its use of resources to manage demand is assessed to be good; and its planning for future demand is judged to be good.
Kent Police is outstanding in how it ensures it understands demand for its services. The force is continuing to improve its already comprehensive understanding of current and likely future demand, including complex demand such as that from communities less likely to report crime. It makes impressive use of data from partner agencies, ensuring that its analytical products are very informative. The force has used its detailed understanding of demand in its substantial work on a new operating model. It has also established processes to identify and improve internal inefficiencies that create avoidable demand.
The force continually assesses its ability to respond to demand for its services, but there are areas for improvement. The rate that the public are abandoning 101 calls directed to the control room is too high, and sometimes demand is greater than the force’s capacity to manage it, which means its frontline resources are under pressure. Chief officers recognise the significance of these problems and are taking action to manage demand better; they expect that the force’s new operating model will bring further improvements. This model moves a considerable number of the workforce into public protection to help the force tackle the increase in crimes affecting people who are vulnerable.
The force has a good understanding of the skills and capabilities it needs, including in its leaders, and how these will change in the future. The force’s profiling tool helps it to plan its recruitment and training. In its most recent recruitment campaign, the force had some success in increasing the number of black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) candidates. Excellent opportunities are available to both officers and staff for lateral development.
Kent Police has demonstrated a strong commitment to joint working, in particular with Essex Police, and as an active member of the seven-force strategic alliance. The force seeks ideas for improvement from its workforce and encourages its leaders to seek examples of good practice from outside the force.
The force has a good track record of achieving financial savings ahead of schedule. The force’s plans are realistic and they are based on prudent financial assumptions. Despite this, the successful implementation of the new operating model will be challenging for the force.
How well does the force understand demand?
Kent Police is outstanding in its work to ensure it understands demand. The force is continuing to improve its already comprehensive understanding of current and likely future demand, including demand from those communities less likely to report crime. It makes impressive use of data from partner agencies, enabling it to understand how demand from the public is changing. The force uses analytical tools effectively to understand demand by geographical area and at different times of the year. It has a committed approach to tackling hidden crime, such as human trafficking, modern-day slavery, forced marriage and female genital mutilation, and has increased its resources for investigating cyber-crime.
The force’s new operating model moves a considerable number of the workforce into public protection to deal with the rise of crimes affecting vulnerable people. Its governance processes are working well to manage, prioritise and filter demand as well as streamline processes and reduce bureaucracy. However, the rate at which members of the public are abandoning 101 calls directed to the control room is too high. Senior officers expect that planned changes to the structure of the workforce, together with the innovative use of technology, will resolve these problems.
The force ensures that it understands the effects of changes so that benefits are properly realised and unintended consequences minimised. Its decision making is effective and based on sound assessments. The force actively seeks new ideas from the workforce, for example through workshops and seminars, and the workforce is making excellent use of the web-based idea scheme to submit suggestions and innovations to improve how the force works.
How well does the force use its resources?
Kent Police has a good understanding of the skills and capabilities it needs, and how they will change in the future. The force uses a profiling tool to identify the skills, capabilities, gaps and potential gaps of its workforce and leaders, which helps it to plan its recruitment and training. Leaders’ personality traits and leadership styles are also identified. It continues to seek recruits from different sources, including minority communities and academic establishments, to increase the diversity of its workforce and is having some success in increasing the number of BAME candidates.
The force allocates resources based on an understanding of current and future demand, local priorities, national requirements and public expectations. It has developed its own resource allocation model, which analyses factors such as the time taken to complete investigations, response functions, predicted peaks and troughs of demand and absences due to sickness and annual leave. However, the force is facing some difficulties in meeting the demand for its services; for example, lack of officer availability can affect the control room’s ability to allocate incidents. Chief officers recognise the significance of the problems and are taking action to better manage demand; they expect that the force’s new operating model will also improve this situation.
The force continues to demonstrate its commitment to joint working. It is an active member of the seven-force strategic alliance that seeks to identify efficiencies and improvements in operational, middle office and support services. The force’s collaborative work with Essex Police is extensive and aims to make significant savings. It has well-established collaborative arrangements with Kent Fire & Rescue Service, and works closely with South East Coast Ambulance Service, local authorities and mental health services. The chief officer team actively encourages leaders to seek out examples of good practice and opportunities for improvement from outside the force.
How well is the force planning for demand in the future?
Kent Police understands trends in demand and assesses likely future demand using sound analysis, such as a predictive calendar. The force works with academia to increase its understanding of future demand and how best to manage it and consults the public regularly to understand better the public’s needs and how those needs are changing. The force understands the benefits and risks of emerging technology, both to policing and criminal behaviour, and it is developing its digital approach in collaboration with Essex Police. It has demonstrated a strong commitment to joint working over a number of years and has created sophisticated plans to continue this that are designed to meet local demand and improve efficiency.
The force has an understanding of its future leadership skills, including personality traits and individual leadership-style preferences. Strategies for talent management and succession planning are in place to ensure that talent within the force is identified, developed, retained and used in the best interests of the force and the public. Excellent opportunities are available for both officers and staff for lateral development. The force does not recruit externally for promotion opportunities below the chief officer level, and does not support the direct entry to superintendent scheme, which may mean it is missing opportunities to bring in new talent, skills and leadership capabilities. However, it does advertise externally for crucial senior police staff roles.
Kent Police is introducing a new operating model that has been designed to meet public expectations, new and emerging demand, organisational priorities and financial requirements. The model is based on realistic assumptions about future income, costs and benefits. However, the force is aware that successful implementation of the new operating model will be difficult. Kent Police has a good track record of achieving financial savings ahead of schedule and it expects that this will continue to be the case.