Helping Bedfordshire Police win extra funding to meet rising complex demand

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bedfordindependent.co.uk

We believe both the detail of the data from Crest and their impartiality had a large impact on the success of the majority of the bids."

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Phil Wells

Assistant Chief Officer, Bedfordshire Police

Summary

Bedfordshire Police used Poliscope modelling and forecasting to support their case for £8million of additional Home Office funding in successful ‘special grant’ applications during 2019 and 2020.

The challenge

Bedfordshire Police operate in a uniquely challenging environment. Bedfordshire is one of England's smallest yet most diverse counties, it hosts the UK’s fifth busiest airport, principal road and rail links, a prison, an immigration removal centre, and a Championship football club. Bedfordshire also has an unusually high and increasingly complex mix of volume crime, serious crimes, drugs, gangs, safeguarding and terrorism threats, generating demands similar to those in large cities. As a result, the force had been underfunded historically. In 2017, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, Fire and Rescue Services reported that Bedfordshire faced “a more acute financial challenge than most other forces” and did not have enough officers to meet demand. In particular, Bedfordshire faced a growing threat from gun crime and gang-related serious violence. There was a strong argument for additional funding but the PCC and Chief Constable needed robust evidence to present to the Home Office in the form of Special Grant applications and a Spending Review submission to support the case.

Our approach

Crest and Justice Episteme worked with Bedfordshire Police analysts to develop a Poliscope demand tool bespoke to Bedfordshire. We spent time with officers across the command structure to understand the workload implications of increasingly complex demand and conducted a survey to enable us to differentiate between components of demand in the model. We interrogated data sources to build a robust demand model. 

 

Our team was able to show that resources in Bedfordshire Police were being outstripped by 10,000 hours per month and that the force needed 288 additional officers to meet demand. On top of this, we were able to establish that the key drivers of demand were increasing violent and sexual offences. 

 

Using our findings Bedfordshire were able to evidence both the increasing volume of offences, and the increasing workload as a result. We showed that workload stemming from violent and sexual offences had increased from 39% of total demand in 2015 to 42% in 2019. This is expected to increase again to 50% by 2023. Our forecasts suggested that the number of hours required to deal with all violent offending across Bedfordshire by 2024 could be up to 58,000 (equivalent to 475 officers).

Our impact

In 2019, using our findings, the Bedfordshire PCC applied for a £5.8m Special Grant, including £3.9m for preventative work under Operation Boson (Bedfordshire's specialist enforcement response to gang, gun and knife crime across the county). This application was successful and allowed the force to focus efforts on identifying serious offenders and bringing them to justice. In 2020, the PCC made a second special grant application of £3.4m, using updated Poliscope findings, to continue to fund proactive policing against knife crime, gun crime and gang-related activity. 

 

Operation Boson has worked closely with the local violence reduction unit, using intelligence to respond quickly to threats of violence. It has solved more than a fifth of serious violence crimes and has succeeded in reducing knife crime, with assaults using sharp objects falling among under 25s who were a priority target group.

 

Poliscope findings also helped Bedfordshire to write their submission to the spending review in Autumn 2020, drawing on our evidence-based demand forecasting to build a compelling picture of the challenges faced by the force.

"Having Crest provide an independent view of the demand and thus financial position of Bedfordshire Police, with their extensive knowledge, and modelling tools, was extremely helpful in the messaging and supporting narrative with regards to our Special Grant Claims. We believe both the detail of the data from Crest and their impartiality had a large impact on the success of the majority of the bids."

Phil Wells

Assistant Chief Officer, Bedfordshire Police