West Midlands Police plan launched

Transforming the organisation is ‘critical to its future’, says Chief Constable.

PolicingWest Midlands Police’s draft new Policing Plan, which sets out the force’s priorities for the next three years and some principles upon which the organisation’s future operating model will be built, was launched today at a Police Authority meeting in Walsall.

The launch of the plan coincides with a series of visits Chief Constable Chris Sims is making to every local policing unit (LPU) and department, seeking the views of staff to help shape the future vision and transformation of the force. Mr Sums has also claimed that police need to work in partnership with the private sector in order to achieve their aims of increased efficiency and more effective crime fighting.

“As a result of substantial reductions in our funding it is clear that we have to change as we move forward,” said Mr Sims. “We also have to be able to identify and clearly articulate the sort of service that we will provide to the people of the West Midlands.

“Since March last year over 1,700 staff have left the organisation but we have continued to respond to calls effectively and crime levels are back to those not seen in a decade. At the same time levels of satisfaction with feedback and action taken are showing some of the highest figures ever recorded since Contact Counts was launched.

“All of this has been achieved at a time when we have made significant savings. Many of our functions have been reviewed which has led to some reductions in workforce and involved changes to the frequency of what we do, how we do it or whether we do it at all without impacting on service.

“At the same time our work around Continuous Improvement, which is aimed at of identifying and reducing waste, duplication and inefficiency, has highlighted some excellent results and is currently being rolled out across the force.

“These changes, combined with staff departures, have resulted in savings of £118m with a further saving of £8 million having been identified.”

He added, “Against this challenging backdrop it is time to make a significant step change to the way we do business, especially in the way we use technology to support our systems and processes. However we do not possess the capacity and expertise to be able to progress at the level, speed and skill required. As a result, it is likely that we will require external support and it is for this reason the force is looking at business partnering with the private sector as a possible future option.”

Mr Sims said the series of seminars with LPUs and headquarters departments was to discuss with staff how such a partnership approach might work and how the necessary transformation could be brought about.  “A number of people have asked us to be more specific about exactly what we mean when we talk about transforming our service” said Mr Sims. “Put simply, this means doing things better, more efficiently and more effectively – benefiting from technology, scale and capital a partner could bring to improve the service we provide to members of the public and an environment that allows staff to do the best possible job.

“Some examples of how organisations do this can be found in the private sector. If you’ve bought anything online you can track the progress of your delivery from the minute it’s ordered to when it arrives on your doorstep. Why can’t victims of crime track progress on their case? We need to match the use of technology and refine our systems and processes to allow us to replicate many of the innovative approaches private industry has been using for years.”

Mr Sims stressed that any such partnership would still be based around the force’s vision statement of serving our communities and protecting them from harm. “This will not change, it would be consistent and at the heart of everything we do.”

He concluded, “The work we are doing around business partnering is still in the very early stages but we need to look at how we can kick start our transformation and start making real progress. I hope these seminars will give staff the chance to get involved and work with us to shape the future of WMP.”