Police risk register analysis - December 2018

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The policing sector continues to face a multitude of challenges and risks. There are risks that have been in existence for some time and those that are emergent; yet both types need to be identified, controlled and managed appropriately.

To gain a deeper understanding of the challenges facing the sector, we have again examined the content of strategic risk registers. The sector continues to face a myriad of challenges, which span across operational and organisational boundaries, and which in combination, pose very real risks for a service we all rely on to keep us safe.

There is a growing debate, linked to government policy, regarding factors such as financial resource and reducing officer numbers, which has the potential to hinder policing capacity, and leave the service less able to respond to evolving cyber-crime, rises in violent crime and the demand for visible policing. Whilst effective demand management and workforce strategies are essential, the challenge of meeting current demand, whilst identifying future capacity and skill requirements remains.

A lot has been achieved in the sector on collaboration, which has resulted in significant cost and efficiency savings. We are now beginning to see forces and Office of Police and Crime Commissioners (OPCCs) question, and critically asses, the value of their collaborative ventures and in some cases move away from them. The Policing and Crime Act 2017 has also brought to the fore new risks regarding the role of Police, Fire and Crime Commissioners (PFCC) and the subsequent governance structures to be adopted. As we see more PCCs submit proposals, and subsequently gain approval from the Home Secretary to take control of fire and rescue services in their area and therefore become a PFCC, there are new governance risks created through this fundamental shift in structure.

In the policing sector, if risk is not managed, there can be very real and severe ramifications and whilst risk management can never prevent a risk from materialising, it can, and does help. Our latest analysis, drawing comparisons with our work in 2016 and 2014, enables you to compare your organisation’s risk profile with that of others. This enables you to consider ‘how do our risks compare?’ and ‘are we missing any significant risks?’