Understanding Demand: research and innovation workstream

EMPAC’s focus on understanding demand has been jointly led by Superintendent Mark Housley (Lincolnshire Police), Dr Rowena Hill (Nottingham Trent University), Strategic Analysis Manager Kate Hemstock (Derbyshire Constabulary) and Professor Peter Kawalek (Loughborough University).

This thematic forum brings together representatives across the whole region to work together, share challenges, best practice and learning, in order to ensure the very best data approaches and insights inform policing services.

Ensuring policing understands demand to inform Force Management Statements (FMS) is an ongoing professional challenge, as this is vital for future strategic planning and public accountability.

In the East Midlands region, there have been a number of methods applied in understanding and managing demand and incorporating Force Management Statements into ‘business as usual’, creating  living documents that allow forces to inform their strategic decision-making based on current demand pressures.

The EMPAC thematic work on Understanding Demand has made some progress in respect of hosting discussions, seeking to create frameworks in which we might operate and bringing the region together to share and support each other to enable improved performance. The ongoing need is further develop this work to deliver opportunities for tangible professional change and improvement. 

Academic partners have brought new thinking and challenge, seeking to help forces think in a more transformational way.  Academia brings challenge, a methodical approach to understanding, skills in respect of evaluation and review and a new and welcome voice to professional policing. 

Why understanding demand is important

Everything policing does, from planning, funding, resourcing, training and support mechanisms, should all be predicated on demand, current and future, complimented by a thorough understanding of the drivers for community need.

The purpose of the thematic work on demand is to better understand the impact of socio-economic and demographic factors, including partner and public behaviour influence upon police calls for service, in a broad technology, societal, environmental, economic and legal context. 

The ambition is to better understand, challenge and change – including internal and failure demand – to help identify waste created by unnecessary bureaucracy and poor process. In short, to optimise policing performance, based on understanding demand, and in the longer term, to reduce that demand to allow more proactive prevention. 

A refreshed and more in-depth understanding of demand will equip policing to better manage capacity and capability and enhance policing models. As a knock-on consequence there will be wider benefits to inform recruitment and training to get policing in the best shape for present, and future needs.

The vision for this practitioner and academic collaborative work is to help produce high quality, relevant and accurate demand information to  better equip decision-making at both the tactical and strategic levels.   

How we are trying to help

The objectives of Understanding Demand (FMS) thematic development are to help enable force leads and interested parties to work together as one:

–  Helping each other understand the challenges and develop ideas
share good practice; for example increased use of  the Organisational Risk Assessment – ORA – within the Management of Risk in Law Enforcement (MoRiLE)
–  Enable the region to work more collegiately
–  Conduct peer reviews and
–  Share tasks, thus enabling a more efficient & effective method of working
–  To create a group of specialists that are the strategic advisors to regional strategic leaders including the DCC’s and PCC’s Group
–  To create a Regional Toolkit to support the development of FMS as an operational tool, which can be integrated in to local force strategic business planning as appropriate for each force, ensuring autonomy is maintained
–  To create a forum that identifies and promotes best practice across the region and nationally
–  To create a forum that works in partnership with Academia, enabling a wider perspective and understanding of problems and solutions.
–  To create a forum in which our wider partners, critical to success, are in attendance and helping develop improved understanding of systems and interdependencies.

Professional challenges

Forces are starting to prepare for the 2021 FMS, and to support the region, ongoing sharing and mapping of best practice and learning offers an opportunity to develop a working toolkit for mutual benefit.

Contemporary challenges include ongoing liaison over how to best apply the evidence-base, and commission further enquiry, concerning:

–  Map out the interdependencies between various complex analysis processes with operational delivery 
– Explore the quality and completeness of data in Niche to ensure a full picture of demand
– Capability to meet the data forecasting requirement for FMS four years into the future
– Managing disrupted baselines (due to things such as Covid-19) on forecasting / strategic planning
– Using data to move beyond describing, to better explaining, demand (to help better inform the ‘so what?’ from data)
– To harmonise and align better partnership risk assessments to avoid silos
– To embed the FMS as a living tool of strategic business planning and influence real-world operational practice 
– To harmonise strategic assessment processes with FMS (as an efficiency to reduce bureaucracy)
– Ensuring comprehensive cohesion in the narrative of FMS by bringing together a number of complexities into an overall picture
– Looking at the whole process of understanding demand and need  from a public point of view 

Get involved

If you would like to get involved in this important work please get in touch with our operational thematic lead at:

Superintendent Mark Housley mark.housley@lincolnshire.pnn.police.uk

 

 

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