Review shows potential ‘to free up 38 million hours of police time’ over next five years

The Policing Productivity Review published this week sets out what could be done to improve efficiency in how policing operates at all levels and finds that innovation is poorly shared across the sector.

The Home Secretary commissioned the National Police Chiefs’ Council to review police productivity and provides 26 recommendations to improve efficiency and effectiveness in policing. The report was published focuses on what could make a difference to the public, setting out changes in policing inspired by success, what works as well as learning from the past.

The review identifies areas of activity that may not be a productive use of police officer time, helping free up additional capacity. It has also identified how the systemic use of innovation and technology can be improved across police forces. ‘Technology is an asset whose exploitation by policing has been necessary but patchy.’

The recommendations, if adopted in full, would free up about 38m police hours over a five year period. ‘This is the equivalent of another police officer uplift.’

Alan Pughsley QPM led a small team over 12 months to focus on areas where potential productivity gains were ‘within grasp.’

The review found that two recurring factors ‘significantly hamper better policing productivity’ – the absence of data or inaccurate data and forces taking different approaches to common activities. Referring to approaches taken in health and elsewhere, the review sets out a Model Process to provide a ‘new and invigorated tool to prompt the standardisation of processes.’ The tool has been piloted with six forces and ‘well received’ by stakeholders and practitioners. The review recommends that the tool should be rolled out to all forces over the next 18 months.

To fund innovation and improve impact, the review recommends that a business case is developed for a spending review bid for a £40m endowment fund. It also recommends that a £50m fund should be ringfenced to pump prime science and technology innovation with the NPCC Science and Technology Innovation Coordination Committee having an assurance function.

Looking at the benefits of partnership working, the review says that Chief Constables highlight the benefits of prevention but, it notes, that police cannot deliver this work on its own. To improve work in this area, the review says that partners – including the blue lights – should articulate collectively a shared strategy akin to the Integrated Review into defence and security. A Public Safety Strategy should be developed out of a new national community safety board.

The Home Secretary is now considering the review and will give a full response in due course.

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