Police launch consultation on restructuring plan

Avon and Somerset Police.

Avon and Somerset Constabulary has launched a wide-ranging consultation on plans to re-shape the structure of the force and the way it works. Senior officers were briefed on emerging proposals for a renewed operating model by programme lead, Chief Superintendent Sarah Crew, at a meeting chaired by the Chief Constable last  Tuesday (8th October). A period of internal and external consultation and discussion will now take place before the new operating model is finally agreed on 23rd December.

Chief Constable Nick Gargan said:

“The way the Constabulary does its business has not been reviewed for some time. The fact that we will be taking delivery of several new buildings and critical new IT systems in 2014 – combined with the need to make yet further savings – meant that significant organisational change was inevitable.”

“We have also been listening to the outcome of the Police and Crime Commissioner’s consultation with communities as well as to the voices of our own staff. Together they have told us that we can and should do much more to respond to the needs of victims and the communities of Avon and Somerset, and that we would be a better police force if we were more open and more transparent.”

The ‘Invent the Future’ programme team has toured the force, from north to south and east to west, asking staff what they would do if they were Chief and what they would put into Room 101. The response to the initial internal consultation exercise has been excellent, and crucial in helping to shape the new operating model proposal.

Sarah Crew said:

“We wanted to make our conversations with staff meaningful and fun, and it’s worked. The response has been overwhelming. We had 2088 face to face contacts with staff, 1486 suggestion cards, and a sixteen strong team visited 49 locations and spent 588 hours listening to what people had to say.”

“There were some important messages for us. Police officers and staff alike have a huge pride in the organisation and a real desire to serve the public. But they also said that we don’t always operate as ‘one team’, and sometimes our processes and systems aren’t as efficient and integrated as they might be so people develop workarounds rather than being constrained or hampered by ineffective ways of working. There’s a real appetite to do things differently and better.”

After listening to people inside and outside the organisation, the operating model team turned the old introverted planning approaches on their head, starting from the outside, where the public are, back into the organisation.

Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said:

“I am pleased that the constabulary is taking into account the views of local people as it re-shapes the service it provides to communities.”

“The picture that is emerging about the current service reflects what many people have told me over the past year. It is really important to me that policing reflects local needs and I would encourage everyone to have their say on the consultation about what service the public should expect from the Constabulary, before 26th October”.

The proposals would put a greater proportion of the constabulary staff into front line roles where they have more direct contact with the public, and more staff will be working at hours that are more closely aligned with public demand. A cultural change programme will bring all staff up to the standards of the very best in the service when it comes to supporting victims and treating people with fairness and respect.

A new service proposition sets out what the public have said matters to them and what kind of service they should expect from Avon and Somerset Police. Consultation has already started on this.

More info: Better for the Public, Simpler for Staff [PDF, 2MB]

The constabulary is very keen to hear what people think – click here to complete the online survey.

The consultation ends on Saturday 26th October.

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