A joint team of consultants, police officers and staff successfully implemented a large-scale change programme affecting many of Northern Ireland’s population. ‘Service First’ reduced crime investigation times by half, improved call attendance times and increased the number of arrests through targeted, proactive policing, proving that it is possible to ‘do more with less.’
Despite the most volatile summer marching season in three years, the threat from dissident republicans, and the huge challenge of policing the G8 summit, the Police Service of Northern Ireland needed to manage a shrinking budget whilst improving performance. KPMG in the UK’s consultants quickly built the trust and confidence of the client, by creating a joint team, bringing in a rigorous analytical methodology and taking part in (sometimes violent and frightening) patrols.
The greatest challenge was to gain support for change from all stakeholders, from the Chief Constable right down to front line police officers working with KPMG each day. This could only be achieved by proving the resilience of the new model in real-life policing situations, and adapting the solution until the joint team had full confidence to go live.
Crucially, the service now has a group of officers with the change and project management skills to sustain momentum independently, thanks to strong knowledge transfer from KPMG. The service as a whole can adapt to budget cuts, not by slicing services but by delivering them more innovatively and efficiently.
“This was a hugely challenging programme of work for all involved, in terms of demanding objectives, restricted timelines and organisational readiness. I don’t mind admitting that I often found myself doubting if we could deliver, despite my utmost confidence in the whole team. In the run up to our first ‘go-live,’ long hours worked didn’t necessarily equate to a good night’s sleep. Throughout these testing times, I took huge reassurance from the confidence of the team and the quality of the products. However, the biggest personal support I had throughout the programme, was the fact that we all worked with and supported each other because the programme was ‘ours’ rather than a customer/client relationship.”
Alan Todd, Assistant Chief Constable, PSNI