Essex PEEL 2018
How efficiently does the force operate and how sustainable are its services to the public?
Essex Police is good at operating efficiently and providing a sustainable service to the public.
It is good at meeting current demands and using resources. It analyses demand routinely. The high levels of demand put pressure on officers and some internal procedures make this worse. The force’s improvement programme is seeking better ways of working, including more joint working that will reduce demand.
The force is good at planning for the future. The demand forecasts it made in the past have proved accurate. It invests in ‘spend to save’ projects. These will help it free up capacity and funds that can be used in other priority areas. The force tells the public about its work and understands their expectations.
How well does the force use its resources to meet the demand it faces?
Essex Police uses various methods to understand demand, including hidden demand. It is improving communications with the public generally and with hard-to-reach groups. Sometimes, Essex Police does not have enough officers to attend emergencies. Poor internal procedures add to pressure on officers and create extra work.
The force knows that improving efficiency can reduce demand. Its improvement programme results in changes that save thousands of hours and millions of pounds a year. But we found a weakness in its response to lower-grade incidents. It does not assign responsibility for their conclusion to a particular department. This can delay the process.
Essex Police has strong evidence of the benefits of its investments. These include improvements that make it easier for officers to collect and upload data. It records resulting improvements. The force funds these investments from reserves and they are linked to its efficiency plans.
Essex Police analyses priorities and the skills it needs constantly and allocates accordingly. When demand is overwhelming, the force appropriately downgrades some incidents under the supervision of a senior officer. The force is aware of pressure on the control room and is addressing this. This pressure makes solving these problems less likely.Detailed findings for question 1
How well does the force plan for the future?
The force understands trends in demand through a variety of methods. Its past demand forecasts have been accurate. In response to its understanding, it has adjusted staffing levels.
Essex Police understands the public’s expectations and what they are likely to be in future. It asks the public for its views on the service. It then responds by altering its service or by developing new skills and capabilities.
The force has analysed its future workforce needs. Its workforce plan addresses changing capacity and expertise needs. It helps officers and staff move forward in their careers. And it can identify future leaders.
The force bases its realistic finance plans on sound assumptions. Experts review these plans, which align with the force’s change programme. It knows how much it needs to save this year and in the medium term. Its ambitious plans for its capital involve some risk. But these plans will save money and improve service.
The force expects its future plans to improve the services it provides. It will invest in infrastructure. And it will improve capacity by working with other forces and by recruiting more officers and staff. It will also save money through joint working.Detailed findings for question 2