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Demands on police officer time to be examined by College

A new project is to be carried out to examine the apparently changing levels of public demand on police officer time and how it can be better managed.

Researchers and staff at the College of Policing are working with forces across the country to help identify the changing nature of calls from members of the public and their impact on police resources.

As well as examining national data, researchers will examine more specific force-level data from 12 urban and rural forces.

The results will help build “an evidence base around the way frontline resources are being used” – and how this may have changed over time – according to the College.

The work, the College of Policing said, “will help map demands on the police beyond crime reported and recorded.”

Alex Marshall, executive chief constable at the College, said: “We need to support police officers and staff to both draw on evidence of what works in policing and contribute themselves to building and sharing that evidence. Greater use of data will help forces understand demand on policing and ensure resources are directed where they are most needed.”

Earlier this year, Mr Marshall said 6,000 officers needed to receive extra training to deal with online crime after he said that around half of all calls passed on to frontline officers stem from social media.

Steve Finnigan, national policing lead for performance management, added: “There are a number of reasons for the change in demand on policing in recent years, not least the changing nature of crime. Not only do we mean things like more crime being committed online, but also the increase in public safety and welfare incidents that police forces are now routinely having to respond to.”

Mr Finnigan, chief constable of Lancashire Police, added: “The police service always rises to the challenge of demand, in the interest of protecting the public, but as we face further cuts in funding and pressure on our resources we need to look at what the existing data is telling us so that we can better plan for future demand pressures.

“Learning what we know and where the gaps in data exist are the only way we can best plan future delivery of our services.”

The College plans to publish some results from the study by the end of the year.

Date posted: September 25, 2014

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