Specialist Capabilities

A review of the governance of supra-force specialist policing capabilities 

On 5 December the Police Foundation published new research on the governance of specialist policing capabilities delivered above the level of individual police forces, with a particular emphasis on collaboration. The report is available to read here.

The report was commissioned by the governance working group of the Specialist Capabilities Board which is chaired by PCC Paddy Tipping who stated that:

“This is a very thoughtful independent Report which puts together some initial suggestions on governance arrangements for a networked policing model.

“The Governance of Specialist Capabilities Group commissioned Police Foundation to write this Report and suggest some solutions to governance issues and problems with collaboration agreements that have been experienced in the past.   Today’s report provides a starting point for discussions and sets out some of the key unresolved questions that will need to be worked through in the coming months.

“At the last Association of Police and Crime Commissioners general meeting it was agreed that the Specialist Capabilities Phase One Report would include a recommendation that potential governance models would be developed. 

“Whilst that development is ongoing, the Police and Crime Commissioners are clear that any networked policing model needs to maintain the confidence of the public. Transparency and accountability must be regarded as integral to this project if it is to be a success.”

The Specialist Capabilities Phase One Report is available on the NPCC website here.

Specialist Capabilities Programme Board – July 2016

At the July Specialist Capabilities Programme Board, chaired by CC Sara Thornton, updates were given on:

  • The Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime (CT/OC) Programme (including NCA/CT) which is looking at further developing & exploiting synergies/capabilities with the work being undertaken by the Specialist Capabilities Programme and associated bi-lateral initiatives already underway between the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the CT network.
  • The Joint Forensics and Biometrics Service (JFBS) Programme which is a sister project to the Home Office biometrics project, working with police forces across the country to identify how forensics and biometrics can be more effective and, where possible, use modernised digital platforms with a focus on faster and better criminal justice system outcomes.
  • The Specialist Capabilities Programme which is looking at how specialist policing capabilities are best coordinated and delivered across forces in order to enhance our response to new and complex threats and protect the public in the most efficient and effective manner.

CT/OC

ACC Darren Davies gave an update on the proposed changes to the model of the Programme which will improve governance whilst still maintaining visibility and stakeholder inclusion. CC Thornton highlighted the need to ensure work in this area does not overlap with work being done in the Specialist Capabilities Programme. It was confirmed that if the changes to the model go ahead, extensive work will be undertaken to ensure this is not the case, and a joint programme office with CT/OC and NPCC Specialist Capabilities Programme was proposed. This joint Programme office will reduce the risk of duplication and increase momentum of both programmes. The importance of providing a six month update to the Home Office to ensure the Home Secretary’s level of aspiration for collaboration and interoperability is delivered was also highlighted. In conclusion, the Board were content to support the proposals subject to the provision of details to be agreed with the Home Office and an action to develop high level principles for CT/OC and Specialist Capabilities coordination was taken away.

JFBS

Tony Regan (Home Office) sought approval from the Board to develop the JFBS proposal to the Police Reform and Transformation (PRTB) Board, which has been endorsed by chief constables, into a full business case. He explained that technology has been identified which would drive significant benefits and that consideration has been given to governance to ensure the correct linkages are in place, especially with the Home Office Biometrics Programme. CC Thornton gave her support for the proposal but requested further work be done to increase the level of detail.

Specialist Capabilities Programme

Chris Sims provided an update on the Programme and sought approval of the vision statement and feedback ahead of the October decision point. He also gave an update to the Board on the extended June Programme Board, the Specialist Capabilities presentation to the NPCC Summit on July 1, and the two day Policing Futures event organised by the Programme on July 17 and 18to discuss the areas in the scope of the Programme (major crime, surveillance, technical support units (TSU), roads policing and armed policing). He also informed the Board that extensive stakeholder engagement has taken place and is ongoing including regional visits and one-to-one meetings with PCCs as well as engagement with Chief Constables Council, the Strategic Capabilities Board, the digital and forensics groups and the Home Office Police Reform group. In addition, a governance group has been formed by the Association for Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC). Work continues with regard to capability reviews and development of recommendations and proposals ahead of the October presentations to CCs and PCCs. General support was given by the Board for the proposals shared and for the approach to engaging CCs and PCCs in October, and the vision statement was approved.

Specialist Capabilities Programme Board – June 2016

At the extended June Specialist Capabilities Programme Board, chaired by CC Sara Thornton, the focus was on developing and agreeing a vision for the Specialist Capabilities Programme. The agenda for the session included:

  • Introduction – agenda and importance of the day.
  • Gathering of opinions on the case for change, how to change complex networks, and the vision and design principles for the Programme.
  • Recap of the day and agreement next steps.

Attendees of the session were presented with 12 drivers for change, all of which will address the key challenges facing policing, and asked to rate them.

A discussion then took place to workshop the vision for the Programme. Key themes were identified and key points noted to inform drafting of the vision.

Attendees were asked to discuss and rate a number of potential design principles. The results of this exercise will be aggregated and analysed and used to develop the principles for the programme.

Finally, the next steps for the programme were discussed. It was agreed a vision statement and design principles will be drafted using the outputs from the session. These will be shared at the summit onJuly 1 before being signed-off at the July Programme Board. Following this, work will be carried out to develop recommendations to be presented to the Chiefs’ Council and the APCC General Meeting in October.

Attendees at the extended Programme Board were asked to consider if they would be able to provide additional support the Programme and to communicate this to the programme team. It was also agreed that a Red Team (an independent group that provides challenge) will be held in early September to review the work being done by the Programme ahead of the October decision point.

Specialist Capabilities Programme Board – May 2016

At the May Specialist Capabilities Programme Board, chaired by CC Sara Thornton, updates were given on:

  • The Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime (CT/OC) Programme is looking at further developing & exploiting synergies/capabilities with the work being undertaken by the Specialist Capabilities Programme and associated bi-lateral initiatives already underway between the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the CT network.
  • The Joint Forensics and Biometrics Service (JFBS) Programme is a sister project to the Home Office biometrics project, working with police forces across the country to identify how forensics and biometrics can be more effective and, where possible, use modernised digital platforms with a focus on faster and better criminal justice system outcomes.
  • The Specialist Capabilities Programme is looking at how specialist policing capabilities are best coordinated and delivered across forces in order to enhance our response to new and complex threats and protect the public in the most efficient and effective manner.

Chair’s Update

CC Thornton began by giving an update on the joint Summit for new PCCs and chief constables to discuss capabilities, which will be held on July 1. She also gave an update on the presentations she has given at the Police Federation Conference and the Police Reform and Transformation Board. It was highlighted that it is extremely important to be clear about the ambition of the Programmes. Chris Sims confirmed the specialist capabilities currently being looked at by the Specialist Capabilities Programme are; major crime, surveillance, technical support units (TSU), roads policing and armed policing in phase one,. It was confirmed that even though JFBS has a separate programme board, it will continue to report to the Specialist Capabilities Programme Board.

CT/OC

It was noted there is a good opportunity to collaborate with Regional Organised Crime Units (ROCUs) in the finance and estates areas of the Programme. The Board was reminded of the proposal to review economic crime in the second phase of the Specialist Capabilities Programme rather than this being carried out by CT/OC. Cyber will be a focus for phase two of the Specialist Capabilities Programme and will be aligned to the National Cyber SecurityStrategy 2016-2021to ensure consistency in minimum standards for forces. CC Thornton added that an enhanced national capability is required. The first Digital Policing Board is scheduled for 27th May, and will provide the opportunity for policing to outline requirements and influence the design of digital capability.

JFBS:

Stephen Webb (Home Office) gave an update on the Programme, reporting that options are being developed for review and approval by chief constables and PCCs. If approved, these options will be further developed into a business case for approval by the end of 2016. It was noted there are significant opportunities to improve efficiency, sharing of best practice and resilience. The need to communicate and engage with stakeholders due to the unique nature of the work was highlighted and it was suggested an update be given to PCCs at the General Meeting in June. It was also suggested that a PCC representative from the Programme Board should act as champion for the work.

Specialist Capabilities Programme:

Chris Sims gave an update on Specialist Capabilities which is working towards a decision point in October when chief constables and PCCs will give be asked to give their approval for the Programme to move to the next stage. Specific areas of capability will be presented along with different options for how they could be delivered in the future. Chris also gave an update on the governance sub-group. The continued importance of governance and communications with chief constables and PCCs was highlighted. It was also noted that there has been a lot of support and input into the work so far from experts. The overview and rationale for the Programme, was discussed and approved by the Board pending some minor edits. An extended Programme Board meeting will be held in June where the vision of the programme will be discussed in further detail.

Specialist Capabilities Programme Board Summary Minutes: March 2016

At the March Specialist Capabilities Programme Board, chaired by CC Sara Thornton, updates were given on:

  • The Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime (CT/OC) Programme which is looking at further developing & exploiting synergies with the work being undertaken by the Specialist Capabilities Programme and associated initiatives already underway between the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the CT network.
  • The Joint Forensics and Biometrics Service (JFBS) Programme which is a sister project to the Home Office biometrics project, working with police forces across the country to identify how forensics and biometrics can be more effective and, where possible, use modernised digital platforms with a focus on faster and better criminal justice system outcomes.
  • The Specialist Capabilities Programme which is looking at how specialist policing capabilities are best coordinated and delivered across forces in order to enhance our response to new and complex threats and protect the public in the most efficient and effective manner.

Chairs Update

CC Thornton updated the board in respect of the funding formula review which is continuing and is expected to finish in 2018. The possible impact of the review on specialist capabilities was discussed. CC Thornton also announced that a summit is being organised in early July for all Chief Constables (CCs) and Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) to review capabilities.

CT/OC

Mark Rowley gave an update on the programme and the different projects taking place. He reported good progress in existing projects including prisons and estates. It was also discussed that the programme will increase collaborative working in the future under a clear governance structure.

JFBS

Stephen Webb (Home Office) reported good progress as the programme reviews a range of options, including the consolidation of fingerprint bureaus and digital recovery forensics. A set of options will be presented to PCCs after the elections in May for decisions. There was discussion around the scope and ambition of the programme. It was decided that a range of high level scope proposals will be brought to the Summit in July. It was agreed that this Board will support the programme. The need for consultation and regular communication with stakeholders was recognised.

Specialist Capabilities Programme

Liam O’Brien updated the Board, sharing progress and plans around engagement with key stakeholders including PCCs, chief constables and the Home Office. He also gave an update on the procurement process for professional consultancy support, which has been led by an independent procurement management company. Following completion of the competitive process, PwC have been appointed. The first two months of the Programme will look at developing an approach and methodology, and identifying the detail of what outcomes may be achieved. This will then be reported back to the Board for review and approval. A governance sub-group with PCCs representation has been established.

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