Understanding Demand: research and innovation update

Nottingham Trent University hosted the most recent EMPAC event on Force Management Statements (FMS) understanding demand in February 2020.

Professors Peter Kawalek, Darren Smith (both of Loughborough University) and Mark Lemon (of De Montfort University) gave inputs to stimulate discussion on place-based approaches, as a way to both understand and reduce public demand.

This workstream, led by Superintendent Mark Housley (Lincolnshire Police) and Dr Rowena Hill (Nottingham Trent University), reports back to East Midlands regional Deputy Chief Constables forum, to inform the region’s approach to FMS. The strategic leads for all EMPAC work are Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa and Deputy Chief Constable Rachel Swann (Derbyshire Constabulary).

This workstream’s purpose is to:

– seek to better understand public demand upon policing (and relevant partner agencies), to inform capacity, capability and preparedness of service delivery, and

– explore evidenced informed approaches to reduce demand in order to break the reactive cycle.

The next identified steps to explore are :-

  • Cross mapping the various efforts of the region’s forces in FMS to draw out and share best practice trends.
  • Explore the potential of further expanded trialling of place-based approaches, such as Leicestershire’s People Zones, informed by the ongoing evaluation by Loughborough University.
  • Continue to attract the best force representatives to be able to proactively understand demand and not just review tactical response.
  • Explore the work at Northamptonshire Police, who have been exploring triangulating demand to develop pictures of demand on policing teams, to establish requited FTE resource needs.
  • Offer a development / CPD workshop and network support for analysts (police and related Section 17 CDA workers), for example at NTU.
  • Explore wider capacity and capability in joint working to understand demand with key partners. Explore what joint priorities could be emphasised to bring metrics together rather than some being competitive.
  • Support a listening exercise of the front-line about the barriers in the way of delivering policing to understand internal and external demand pressures.
  • Explore analysis of low / no crime areas to inform and better explain high crime areas.
  • Kawalek (2020) identifies that an organisation struggles to deliver operationally and innovate creatively at the same point in the same space. The recommendation here is to utilise the academic collaboration as the region’s central capacity and capability to explore and enable innovation.
  • Explore bringing HMICFRS representatives into the regional conversation to address the implications of metrics and their effects on force operational practice.

The next physical event will take place at Nottingham Trent University, at an appropriate date when COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted. In the meantime, there is ongoing activity using Skype and Zoom to supplement email. In particular, there is a focus on understanding the radical changes caused by COVID-19 in public demand, and learning the lessons quick-time both for now and the future. EMPAC is keen to remain agile and be contributing to the current unfolding situation by monitoring, understanding and informing community resilience, which has has a clear link to demand. If you would like to get involved in any of that please get in touch!

You can read the full February event report here: –http://www.empac.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/FMS-Demand-NTU-Report-Feb-2020-publication.pdf