Forces have been under pressure to are under pressure to respond to increasing demand with fewer resources, and account for their efforts through Force Management Statements (FMS). Now, policing professionals and and academic researchers are increasingly working together to break out beyond the reactive cycle and get ‘upstream’ to reduce demand for the future.
Repeated reactive policing doesn’t sit well with getting to the heart of issues in the community and focussing on the quality interventions needed to actually reduce demand rather than continually respond to it. Given changes to structures and capacity over the last few years, many agencies, including policing, have struggled to reach out into community problems as they might have done in the past. Now, although there is much media speculation about more political investment coming, there remains an imperative for the best minds in policing and academia to work together to identify the best innovations and evidence base to deliver long-term improved outcomes for the public.
This workstream, on FMS Demand, is led jointly by a senior practitoner, Superintendent Mark Housley and academic, Dr Rowena Hill, of Nottingham Trent University. The workstream pulls on all forces in the East Midlands, and beyond in some cases, to contribute and draws upon all relevant academics in the eight EMPAC universities.
The next event on 28th February, 2020, at Nottingham Trent University features two thought provoking academics: Professor Peter Kawalek and Professor Darren Smith.
Professor Kawalek of Loughborough University, has previously worked at the University of Manchester and the University of Warwick. Peter is interested by the Digital Economy and the effects of digitization on business and society and has worked extensively with Greater Manchester Police. He is developing a research stream related to the Attention Economy and has helped to establish the pioneering (Big Data) Lancashire-wide MADE (Multi-Agency Data Exchange) project with the police, fire service, council, NHS, probation and drug action teams; still operational today after more than a decade.
Professor Smith of Loughborough University, is also an adjunct Professor at Hunan University in China. Darren is fascinated by the formation of new social and economic geographies that are giving rise to more exclusive, segregated, and transient societies. He has been conducting evaluation into People Zones in Leicester, working with the Police and Crime Commisioner’s Office.
People Zones give people in communities the opportunity and the skills to improve the quality of life in their neighbourhood. The idea has been developed by Leicestershire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Lord Willy Bach, and is supported by public sector organisations, community groups and, most importantly, local people.
Each Zone provides tailor-made solutions designed specifically around localised issues with different agencies working together to create an effective and sustainable result. Communities benefit from a joined-up, targeted approach from agencies such as the police, health, probation, local authorities, fire and rescue and ambulance services and local community groups. This in turn reduces the demand on local services, thus enabling more resources to be targeted in areas of greatest need.
These ongoing forums are all about partnerships and multi-agency early intervention and prevention working, not just policing – the police will never arrest their way out of this! At the most recent event, in October 2019, the experiences of the Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) were reviewed from the last 15 years, charting their shift from from reaction to prevention. Their model operates now on risk not demand so the differences and similarities were noted and debated by a mixed group of practitioners and academics, particularly concerning the generation of community driven risk identification and risk profiles.
There was exploration into how data modelling of risk can reduce threat to the community, how the strategic plans and operational risk plans should dovetail and integrate, and how data can be interrogated to identify ‘ghost’ demand. Such refinements are all vital to enhancing efficiency of tight resource.
Practitioners (from policing and partner agencies) and academics were also able to explore different perspectives on risk, demand and vulnerability; how local and global information fits together and how historical demand and predictive analysis can inform the pictures of where and how the emergency services are likely to be needed in the future. Specifically, the perspective of resourcing to risk or demand may be better thought of as over seasons and months rather than 24 hour blocks.
This important joint group then explored whether the demand curve and resource line mapped together and ways in which we could get ahead of the demand to see what was needed. This lead to discussions of cultural barriers and challenges to transformational change in order to achieve this. The cultural expectations needed to shift throughout the organisation and occupation in order to think differently are considerable.
Lastly the role of technology was considered, how technology could be used to triage demand either through educating the public about appropriate pathways, or through increasing data integrity or accuracy.
Further events are being planned by Mark and Rowena and you are strongly encouraged to get involved in what is a cutting-edge think tank that brings the best of our two worlds together to identify the best innovations and evidence base and challenge ourselves on our assumptions.
Some of the future indicated funding investment is no doubt going to help in battling demand. But let’s be clear money alone is not the answer: we need the best ideas and insights on what, how and where effort is invested to break beyond demand. This forum, hosted free of charge on your doorstep, at Nottingham Trent University, offers a place for world-leading discussion about advancing this vital cause: all you need to do is get involved. Don’t be a spectator – get on the pitch!
How do I get involved?
The next event, all about understanding the role of location in policing, will be hosted at NTU from 1pm -4.30pm on Friday 28th February 2020. To book a free place contact the workstream leads direct.
Contact the workstream leads here:-
Read about the FMS Demand work undertaken so far here:-
Partner agencies are encouraged to attend as are Police FMS (2) and Managing Demand strategic leads. If you’ve not managed to make it to a previous event that’s not a problem – you can catch up quickly here on the previous work: http://www.empac.org.uk/empac-hosting-third-understanding-demand-workshop/