Keep our boys in blue in the black
Every public sector profession is subject to intense scrutiny, by both government bodies and the general public, and police services are no exception. Policing institutions across the UK are frequently evaluated by the government to assess performance, which is why independent bodies such as the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) exist to oversee the actions of the police. But the job of keeping police performance up to scratch is not only the job of the government; police departments themselves need to own this responsibility and make sure they have a robust system in place to monitor performance and risk. Taking a proactive approach to these issues is important for ensuring compliance with government guidelines, as well as creating a more streamlined organisation that is fully aware of every existing and emerging risk, and is able to consistently achieve their strategic goals.
WHY IS RISK MANAGEMENT SO CRUCIAL TO THE POLICE?
The types of risk exposed to the police have extremely broad-reaching implications. For example, failure to resolve crimes results in diminished public safety, which affects entire communities. Citizens rely on their police departments to protect them; if they can’t then we might as well be living in a state of lawlessness. Moreover, this in turn runs the risk of impacting the reputation of the police, and the potential of de-funding. So, it is the responsibility of the police to ensure that effective risk management is a top priority. They must be able to devise an appropriate response to risks in an informed and controlled manner.
This was the point of view of Devon & Cornwall Police Authority when they decided to replace their simple spreadsheet-based risk management system with a more powerful software solution. The Authority implemented Pentana Risk in 2011 with a view to improving their position along the International Association for Contract & Commercial Management (IACCM) risk maturity scale; something that was concluded to be impossible using the old spreadsheet-based system. By using Pentana Risk to input their data on risk registers and automatically assign mitigating actions to individuals, they have managed to create a strong framework for recording and tracking corporate risks. Unlike the old spreadsheet repository, Pentana Risk displays enterprise-wide risks in interactive dashboards and heat maps, giving management a live view of emerging risk and mitigation plans in action. The Authority claim that the software has “transformed the way [they] monitor risk”, and “has added significant value to the Authority’s governance arrangements.”
Given the specific challenges faced by policing institutions daily, it is imperative that corners are not cut with regards to performance and risk management. Embedding a culture of risk awareness helps to ensure that police deliver on targets, safeguards their reputation, and remain compliant.