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Service planning is hard… but are police forces making it harder?


Navigating the complexities of service planning is no easy feat. Jon Mobbs, an emergency services planner with 17 years of experience in the ambulance sector, shed light on the challenges faced in this crucial domain, drawing intriguing comparisons between police and ambulance services.

Jon delved into the heart of the matter, emphasizing the nuances that distinguish service planning in the police force from that in ambulance services. One standout observation was the disparities in data quality and availability, highlighting the initial difficulties faced within policing.

A significant revelation during the presentation was the difference in perspectives when it comes to future planning. Despite the importance of projecting future demand in Force Management Statements, the tendency to fixate on immediate concerns is still prevalent within Policing. Jon advocated for a shift towards a forward-thinking approach, urging a focus on resourcing levels for upcoming years, with outputs seamlessly integrated into the workforce planning process.

Jon was keen to highlight the distinction between ‘measures’ and ‘targets’, and the need for targets while service planning to answer the question ‘what does ‘good’ look like?’. This are need to ensure that service-planning problems, like identifying staff requirements, can be properly defined.

Jon underscored the challenge of varied terminologies across different police forces. The incongruity in language, coupled with issues of data integrity and modelling accuracy, compounds the complexity of police service planning. Yet, he remained optimistic, emphasizing that proactive efforts to address these challenges can pave the way for swift progress towards more effective planning.

In the realm of service planning, Jon offered a compelling analysis of the hurdles faced by police forces. By addressing issues such as data quality, future planning perspectives, and the distinction between measures and targets, the path to more effective service planning becomes clearer. As police forces grapple with these challenges, the opportunity for improvement lies in proactive efforts to harmonize terminology, enhance data integrity, and refine modelling accuracy. In doing so, the blueprint for efficient and forward-thinking service planning can be realised.

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