Making Officers More Productive

7 November 2022

To be efficient means being productive with little or no effort. Being efficient applies to many different situations, including a busy police department.

Importance of Operational Efficiency

There is a lot more to operational efficiency besides decreasing expenses. To be operationally efficient, a police organisation needs to provide the right resources, at the right time in the right location. Using data effectively can help to make improvements in the workplace and so improve productivity. By following these guidelines, you can improve operational efficiency while remaining cost-effective and enhancing community satisfaction.

Steps to Improve Operational Efficiency

1. Optimise your resources

Resources such as personnel or vehicles often evolve over time and as such grow. Officers are deployed on new initiatives and crime, or patrol campaigns and their deployment needs to be effectively managed to ensure they still meet the force’s strategic objectives.

By analysing how the police personnel are being deployed over time, it is possible to determine whether the “resource mix” is still appropriate and where changes in the “mix” could produce efficiency savings without compromising operational effectiveness.

Using statistical analysis, it is possible to highlight locations or officer roles where the “resource mix” may not reflect operational needs and as such provide recommendations on how a change of the mix in a location, department or division could provide more appropriate personnel or roles and improve productivity.

Further analysis can assist in identifying whether there may be too many or too few officers at a location or in a specific role so realising potential resource improvements.

2. Understand how vehicles are being deployed

Within officer deployment it is important to understand how officers spend their time on duty, to assess how they may be more effectively utilised.

  • Our analysis shows that assessing how officers are utilised in terms of time and analysing the time spent logged into their radios, at base, responding to incidents, driving, attending objectives such as patrolling, working within their designated ward or division and whether they are double crewed, provides a picture of “what the working day looks like” for a typical officer in a specific role, location, division etc.

It can highlight under and indeed over-utilised officers with an opportunity to re-distribute officers and re-focus their priorities to improve overall utilisation.

Conducting this analysis over time gives a usage trend in terms of where officers spend their time and whether that fits with the strategic organisational objectives. This may help police managers to reshape how officers are tasked, deployed, and ensure valuable resources align to key objectives and community concerns.

3. Right resource at the right location and the right time

Are officers being deployed effectively, in terms of being in the right place at the right time? Are deployments effective or under / over-resourced?

The ability to review incidents, patrol deployments, and assess whether the right resources in terms of officer availability, skills and roles are crucial. It can provide an effective briefing and learning tool to ensure future deployments are effective and provide an understanding of not only the “output” from the resources/officers deployed, such as was the incident dealt with effectively or the patrolling objective was conducted but more importantly was the “outcome” effective.

For command and call and contact centres, having a real-time view of where officers and vehicles are located, who is available and what their skill sets are is key to ensuring effective deployment.

Analysing response and incident times and their trends will enable operational managers to review whether their resources, both officers and vehicles, are located at the right bases. Do they need to be nearer to local hotspots, could this improve response times and incident resource allocation?

4. Integrate with other systems, ensure officers are well informed and briefed

The advent of “Big Data” within police operations can seem overwhelming, with a mass of data available, making sure officers understand which data or information can assist them and which is just of general interest is key.

Ensuring officers are well briefed, as they start their deployment, will assist them in the tasks they undertake and give them an understanding of what is needed and what the community or operational priorities are. Integrating systems and information such as command and control, crime and intelligence and deployment gives officers a better picture and awareness of priorities.

  • Linking this to provide them with up-to-date information based on their current location and their role will ensure they are more effective as officers will be aware of local intelligence and information to help inform their decisions and make them more effective both in terms of output and outcomes.

This can be further advanced by using a tasking or job scheduling system linked to the officer’s location, skills and role and giving them an up-to-date list of tasks which need to be fulfilled within their location, ward, or division.

The ability to dynamically update the officer’s task list or schedule, to take account of changing priorities throughout the day, will also enable them to re-focus efforts and give them a sense of fulfilment as tasks are completed.

By having directed tasks or job schedules, operational managers can ensure business objectives are being met so improving overall resource effectiveness as well as improving community satisfaction.

By following these steps to improve operational efficiency, your operations will see these benefits:

  • Improve resource optimisation – resource optimisation both in terms of officers and vehicles can highlight where resource deployment improvements can be made, and potential efficiencies gained without compromising operational availability
  • Improve officer utilisation  – understanding how officers use their time and how it fits with organisation and community objectives not only reduces ineffective time but can also assist in refocusing officers to more productive activities.
  • Drive operational efficiency – Improving resource utilisation, ensuring officers are well informed and understand what their key tasks are, will provide better officer productivity. Tasking and daily activity analysis will enhance how officers are deployed so improving operational efficiency.
  • Discover New Opportunities – Linking data from several sources can highlight new operational opportunities, giving officers real-time updates on information linked to their location will enable them to be more aware of key incidents and community concerns which can lead to new local initiatives or opportunities.

Want more information?

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