This blog is mainly about the governance and future of policing and crime services. (Police & Crime Commissioners feature quite a lot.) But there are also posts about the wider justice system. And because I am town councillor and political activist, local & national issues are covered a little, as well.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Strategic Policing Requirement: time for a management simulation?

One of the other issues discussed in Leeds two days ago concerned the role that PCCs will play in fulfilling their statutory responsibilities to have due regard to the Strategic Policing Requirement. In essence this means that individual PCCs (in partnership with their Chief Constables) will need to ensure resources are put aside to fulfil tasks that could well lie beyond their immediate area. For example resources are required for tackling cyber crime and could be required in the future for tackling civil unrest if the constabulary of the area is unable to cope etc.

This has been written into the law to make sure that in amongst the parochial concerns of the PCCs, regional and national needs are not left out of the policing and crime resourcing equation.

All understandable. And of course, since it is written into law it will be straightforward to implement, won't it....

The thought that struck me on Thursday was there is a very good case for running a series of management simulations on different dimensions of this statutory requirement, and soon.

The idea of a management simulation is simple: by testing out various scenarios in the safety of conference chamber first, it is far more likely that when the real matter happens, all who took part will be able to respond more wisely, even in the heat of that moment. It is also OK to 'crash the plane' in a simulation since no one gets hurt. I have written about such simulations on my other blog: link here. And in my time, I have designed and facilitated a wide range of such simulations, including examining the new structure of Thames Valley Police and seeing the impact it would have on partnership arrangements, and assisting the Met Police introduce PCSOs onto London's streets with a greater awareness of likely glitches and issues.

A simulation in this instance (SPR, PCCs and all that) could examine how resources might be deployed if two neighbouring police areas were experiencing riots simultaneously but there was disagreement between the two PCCs or CCs or both over whose need was greatest. (Is this a PCC matter?) Or perhaps the resources being put into a counter terrorism team is being perceived as favouring one force area over another. Or efforts to tackle deep serious and organised crime is showing a link to a police area some distance away and insufficient resources are being dedicated towards tackling it by the region where the criminals are resident. Or numerous other scenarios....

Piaget (notable child psychologist) once defined intelligence as knowing what to do when you don't know what to do. In my view, simulations are excellent ways not only to develop and refine policy but also assist organisations (as entities and collections of individuals) to know better what to do when they do not know what to do...

What do you think?

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