• Industry: Government & Public Sector, Justice & Security
  • Type: Business and industry issue
  • Date: 7/20/2012

Value for Money in Policing: From Efficiency to Transformation 

This podcast is an excerpt from the Value for Money in Policing: From Efficiency to Transformation conference, which KPMG co-hosted with Reform, an independent, non-party think tank whose mission is to set out a better way to deliver public services and economic prosperity. The conference presented a number of examples of transformative reform from some of the leading police forces and law enforcement agencies in the UK.


  • Rosemary Scully, Global Head for Justice & Security Center of Excellence, KPMG
  • Rt. Hon Theresa May MP, Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities
  • Dave Thompson, Deputy Chief Constable, West Midlands Police
  • Paul Evans, Director, KPMG (previously Executive Director, Interventions, Serious Organized Crime Agency)
  • Sir Peter Fahy QPM, Chief Constable, Greater Manchester Police
  • Mark Easton, Home Editor, BBC
  • Nicholas Fox, Lead Partner for Home Affairs (UK), KPMG
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Rosemary Scully

The world has changed a lot in the last year. The challenge for all our jobs has always been there but now the demands are even more immediate, the complexities even greater and the stakes are even higher. And so the opportunity to make a real difference is even greater. Efficiency to transformation; it's not just a case of doing things a little bit better, a little bit quicker and maybe a little bit cheaper. It's actually about going back to the first principles and thinking about what is it that we really need to be doing to meet the needs of our customers, in fact, the community and then changing the whole organisation to address that fundamental challenge. We've been working very seriously in this sector for the last seven years. We've had the privilege of working with many able and committed people driven to deliver the best possible service for their local communities and indeed the nation. There is a huge bank of experience and expertise on how to design and deliver absolutely stunning improvement, not only in performance and in cost but also, to my mind the most important thing, the capability and the commitment of the people who work in the police service.

Rt. Hon Theresa May, MP

Thank you very much Rosemary. And I'm delighted to be able to join you here today for what I think is a very important conference on value for money and policing. KPMG have been doing some tremendous work over the last few years in partnership with the Home Office through the groundbreaking Operation Quest program which has improved value for money and generated savings of more than £100 million per year while at the same time driving improved frontline performance. And for the police, Quest has meant savings of, on average, £10 for every one pound invested. But for the public, Quest has meant improved handling of their calls for help, better quality criminal investigations and more offenders brought to justice. It must then consider how those services can be most efficiently delivered from the start of the process through to the very end. That's what they've done in West Yorkshire where they've freed up almost half of their neighbourhood policing team from wasteful activity so they can, instead, do proactive work with the public. It's what they've done in Devon and Cornwall where they're saving more than 5000 officer hours per year through improved deployment. It's what they've done in Greater Manchester, where they've cut the average time between when a crime is reported and when a case is closed from over 50 days down to just 6. Today, you're going to hear about three more case studies that show the saving does not automatically have to mean a reduced service but savings can go hand-in-hand with a better service to the public.

Dave Thompson

We are meeting some pretty substantial operational challenges and some big financial ones but we also have to re-engineer the organisation to cope with the transformation we’ll need over the next few years. Many forces have done Quest and actually there are many areas that those of you who have been through that programme will recognise the territory we’re occupying and the outcomes we’re trying to achieve. But it has been deliberately deployed here to not just find efficiencies; it is to take and manage a substantial reduction in police officer numbers the forces already began under regulation A19. The program moves very quickly through identifying options the Chief Officer teams see, moving very quickly to an evidence business case and then a very effective design solution that properly documents the way work will be carried out. Our staff that are moving into the newly designed roles have got clear roles and have been clearly trained in the role their operating and, again, this is work they’ve had a very strong say in how we design and deliver. And then a supported and implementation phase which has consultancy support but very much driven by our own people making sure, actually, the model that’s built lands and operates in the way it was intended to. There’s been a high level of community engagement here with local communities giving a strong narrative as to what's happening. We often think of program management as often a laborious and painstaking and rather dry process. This has been 26 weeks of extreme intensive activity that's been very focused on benefits realisation and has helped for the force to see program and project management in a different light. The whole aim of the programme has been to build our ability to do this work ourselves and that is, I think, one of the challenges nationally we have as a service is how we're going to keep that level of expertise to keep bringing on forces and challenging moves this way of work going forward. I think what’s made it work is, like any successful areas, we’ve had some great leadership in terms of people on the program locally and who are leading it, some very good involvement of local command teams, strong evidence base that’s actually made the case very well but critically about moving quickly and moving with the people of the organisation so they have strong equity in what we’re building.

Paul Evans

All the points that Dave’s just made about the lessons from Quest applied in the model of delivering local policing and public safety apply to this story of serious organised international crime. So what, then, is the first thing that discovered and caused me to have one of those moments when you think, ‘oh good grief’? Well, it was the size of the problem. After much to-ing and fro-ing over a period of about three years we actually got all the cops and all the cuzzies and all the tax inspectors and all the SOPA-ites to sit down and write down who was doing it? Who was doing it to us? And the answer came to 38,000 individuals. So what do we do? The first thing was, of course, go to where the answers are in policing and that's not in the Chief Constables office, it's not in the Director's office; it’s in the canteen. And we said to people, ‘so what are the things, then, that you would do if you were allowed that would be cheap, could be done in very great volume, could be done quickly and could be done without bureaucracy?’ And we got a fantastically rich answer. About 140 techniques; exclude them from the UK, mess around with their visas, deal with their tax, start taking their assets. So we wrote them in a book called the SOCA Compendium and we issued 5000 copies and we even convinced ACPO to take it on too so 10,000 copies went out of the police service. And absolutely nothing happened. And that's because we had done, probably, the first error that I’ve learned from the Quest program which goes something like this. This won't work without leadership. This won't work without some sort of process that puts people in the place where this is mainstreamed in their jobs. And that's the journey we've been on since and we have learned an enormous amount about how to put this back into the business and this, now, begins to work.

Sir Peter Fahy, QPM

Greater Manchester has the highest level of crime outside London and so we always tended to be at one end of the league table. We've got ‘The Hub’ which is constantly drawing in the latest intelligence; who's been arrested, who's just been breached by the probation service, what will our officers do and then every morning at nine o'clock we have a tasking meeting for half an hour pulling together all that information, looking at how many people are on duty today, how are they going to use their time, who's been arrested. And then we repeat that every six hours in a very short pacesetter meeting to look at what has developed during the day. What happened to that bit of intelligence? Did we go out and arrest that person? And the key philosophy, really, is doing today’s work today. The great benefit that we've got from Quest is actually going to a place like Salford and they actually feel in control. If you talk to the Divisional Commander, they are actually in control of the workload, they have seen some really dramatic reductions in crime. And then rolling that out across GMP over the last two years has meant that we’ve had to roll that out across 12 divisions, at the same time we were very much under focus under the previous performance regime so we had to maintain and, indeed, improve performance along that route. But it actually meant that we returned 400 police officers into neighbourhood policing and over the last two years, as measured by the British Crime Survey, confidence in local policing is gone up from 59% to 68%. I think quite a remarkable figure. And for a force like GMP to end up having the Community Police Officer of the year, as we did last year with Damien O'Reilly, again, was quite remarkable. I think leadership comes from creating structures and processes which have clear lines of accountability and ownership. And so if you look at somebody like Damien O'Reilly, a neighbourhood Inspector in a really challenging area of Manchester called Gorton, it is the fact that he's got a clear line of accountability. He is a local Chief Constable. He has got the assets to be able to manage the workload. He has got responsibility for local crime investigation. And when you create that sort of line of accountability then that in itself starts to create leadership behaviour. That's where leadership comes from; it certainly doesn't come from, for me, reading in a book or sitting in a classroom.

Mark Easton

People don't associate ‘Management Consultancy’ with good policing, they just don't. And part of the problem, I think, we have to deal with is that the word ‘consultant’ has become almost a dirty word and that when police forces have to publish their data on what they're spending their money on, there will be a line that says ‘consultants’ and you can rest assured that the local paper is going to be straight in there doing a, ‘look how many of these sharp suited London consultants are coming up telling our policeman how to catch burglars!’ So, I think that part of what needs to happen. It really does need to enter the public consciousness that actually ‘consultancy’ isn't a dirty word and it can lead to real advances in terms of how public services are delivered, not least of all policing.

Nicholas Fox

I think that none of us are in any doubt at all about the scale of change that the police service is now faced with. But I just want to look at it from a slightly different angle and remind us of the speed with which we faced with this change. We need to be radical, we need to be bold and ambitious in our plans and actually the answer is to ask a fundamentally different question. It’s not how we do the same thing better but what is it that we actually need to be doing. I’m going to just briefly draw on an example from the private sector. Nokia, a few years ago, were the market leaders in mobile phones. They had the biggest market share for mobile phones and now their business is in disarray. Blackberry, Apple, Google have come in and stolen significant parts of their business and significant parts of their market. And I think that the reason that that has happened is because Apple didn't enter the mobile phone market and say, ‘how do we build a mobile phone that is better than Nokia's?’ They asked a different question. They said, ‘what is it that our customers need in their pocket? And I think that that's the kind of mindset shift that we need to see if we’re going to meet this challenge. We've heard from Dave and from Peter this morning about how they did that in their organisations. They didn't start their change programmes by asking their teams to come up with a new way of dealing with emergency calls from the public quicker and getting response officers to the scenes of crime quicker. Instead the question they asked was, what does somebody who’s phoning in with an emergency actually expect from the police? What do they need from the police? And, of course, the answer’s usually complicated and it's very different for different people. And so the idea is that you come up with a model which suits those needs but doesn't go beyond them. We've heard about leadership, we've heard about culture. Culture is the biggest barrier to change and unless you can work with it and overcome that then the program will fail. And the clever thing that he and Peter did was turn that army of change terrorists into the advocates. They seated the change programme right in the heart of their organisation. They made it those people who are so skeptical, they made it those people's jobs to come up with the solutions, to own the solutions and implement the change and in doing that they created an environment where a changing an organisation was actively encouraged, rewarded and supported. And the message that I want to for everyone to take away today is that a conversation or a project that focuses on cost reduction and reducing budgets is exactly the wrong thing to be doing. We should all be focusing on how we better meet the need of the public, albeit for less money.


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