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How better police station management can improve the citizen experience at reduced cost.

Overview

As a portal for public safety, the police station is essential to effective police services. Yet recent demands on the police to reduce operational costs are having an immediate effect on this front door to the force. While police station management is most obviously represented by the front desk and the “customer service” aspects of serving the public, there are also the issues around information, assets and people management to consider.

If police forces are to remain open, accountable and citizen-focused, they will depend on sound information-sharing and collaborative practices. So how can police stations handle their day-to-day demands while offering a cost-effective service to the public?

Background

While the media speculates about the closure of police stations, police forces everywhere are being reminded of the need to be more efficient. Yet, considering the complexity of police operations, police management could be forgiven for wondering where to start. Centralizing police operations or reducing the number of officers may address short-term cost reductions, but these measures often lead to frustration for citizens.

By addressing station management holistically, Accenture believes police forces have an opportunity to both reduce costs and improve the citizen experience. Accenture has found that 75 percent of the processes required to track and respond to crimes are the same; streamlining such key processes means police stations can stand to gain between 20 and 30 percent of efficiencies that can help to release extra capital for generic police operations.

Analysis

Accenture has analyzed in depth the core components of station management and found that enhancing communications, channelling activities and standardizing processes can help police forces around the world to:

  • Improve citizen reception conditions to avoid citizen dissatisfaction and lack of confidence in the police process.

  • Adapt staffing levels to reduce citizen waiting times.

  • Create homogenous competencies that encourage specialization and consistent guidance.

  • Encourage citizens to provide the right information in a timely way to handle an enquiry or complaint.

  • Enhance interactions with key external stakeholders who can influence an investigation.

  • Separate the public interface from offense and crime-fighting activities.

Recommendations

With the accent on achieving more for less, police forces must consider new ways to handle their station operations. Whether managing information to deliver improved investigative outcomes or using innovative technologies, processes and insights to enhance performance, the police need to address station management in its entirety to retain citizens’ confidence and trust, maintain sound financial practices and serve the public well.

Accenture has worked with police organizations across the globe to reduce costs and help the police improve the service to citizens. We believe the police can achieve effective station management by:

  • Enhancing the citizen experience.

  • Embracing innovation and standardization.

  • Changing the focus of the front and back offices.

  • Improving support management.