reduce crime and the fear of crime is set out in the latest report
from the public services productivity panel today.
Produced by Clare Spottiswoode, associate partner at PA Consulting, the report identifies a new approach to measuring the efficiency of the police, enabling police forces to better understand their relative strengths and weaknesses and where to look for advice on best practice.
managers and consultants brought in to advise on improving efficiency
and productivity across the public sector.
Introducing her report, Clare Spottiswoode said:
'There is a lot of performance information collected on the police.
But to date it has not been possible to pull this information
together to build a systematic measure of comparative police force
This has a number of practical consequences for the police, including
the setting of a common efficiency target for all forces, which fails
to recognise the best and most efficient forces.'
'This report identifies a systematic, comprehensive measure of
relative police efficiency for the first time. It recommends that
the efficiency estimates are used to set differentiated targets for
forces, reflecting their room for improvement compared to the best
forces. This means that the targets would better reflect the current
performance of each force and the environment they work within.'
Mr Smith commented:
'I am grateful to Clare Spottiswoode for her report. Measuring the
comparative performance of similar providers of public services is a
key challenge. Clare's work has provided a new way of tackling this
for the police and is an important contribution to the government's
crime reduction strategy. Her approach will help raise the
performance of all police forces to the levels of the best. It also
has wide potential application across the public sector.'
Charles Clarke, home office minister responded:
'This report paves the way for establishing a more effective and
transparent way of measuring police performance across England and
Wales, which is good news for the police service and the public
'However, before any decision is taken to adopt these techniques,
they will be piloted and then subjected to a thorough evaluation in
consultation with the APA and ACPO.' Key recommendations in the
- focussing the concept of police efficiency onto the performance of
forces in delivering outcomes for the resources that they have
available to them. This changes the focus away from measures of
input, to the difference that the police are making to the things
that matter most to the public with the resources that they have.
- using a comparatively small number of best value outcome measures in
two efficiency-measuring techniques - Stochastic Frontier Analysis
and Data Envelopment Analysis. These techniques would also take into
account the impact that quantifiable socio-economic and environmental
factors have on policing.
- using the results of the two techniques to estimate the relative
efficiency of each police force. Forces would be ranked into bands
of relative efficiency, with forces in the lower bands being asked to
make up about half of the gap between themselves and the top
performing forces. Top forces would be given comparatively smaller
- integrating this work into the best value initiative by using
selected best value performance indicators, and using the results and
the efficiency targets in revised best value performance plans.
- developing the techniques and applying them to the police in a fully
open and transparent process over the rest of 2000. The techniques
should be piloted in a few forces in late 2000, before being rolled
out in to all forces in mid-2001.