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Measuring and forecasting demand on Bedfordshire Police

Sunday 15 September 2019

Managing demand through understanding current and future workload is a priority for UK policing. While there is ample information on the number and type of crime and non-crime incidents reported, establishing how this translates operationally can be very challenging.

Though forces expect to increase officer numbers in future, they will continue to face increases in both the volume and complexity of demand. This makes it essential that chief officers understand the skills, capabilities and capacity their forces will need in order to deliver the most effective service to their communities.

Bedfordshire Police asked us to analyse their demand profile. In particular, they wanted us to help them answer the following key questions:

  • What are the components of demand putting the biggest strain on resources?

  • How many workforce hours would Bedfordshire Police need to meet this demand and how does that compare to the existing workforce?

  • How is the profile and scale of demand on Bedfordshire Police likely to change over the next four years, and what will this mean for the force's strategic planning?

HMICFRS also now require forces to report yearly on their projected demand over the following four years. Bedfordshire wanted to be able to evidence their demand projections for their force management statement with reliable data and a robust methodology.

The solution


We analysed five years of data from the force control room and crime recording system to understand the components of their demand and how they had changed over time. Using a number of statistical forecasting methods, we were able to forecast the number of control room incidents and crimes likely to occur over the next four years. We ensured this insight was actionable by calculating the likely time demands on different activities through focus groups with officers and staff across the command structure.

The results


We provided the force with a report setting out past, current and future demand in terms of the number of hours per week required of them, as well as the components making up the total demand. This helped the force to think strategically in terms of its priorities, investments and workforce planning and allowed it to submit a well evidenced projection of future demand to HMICFRS under its 2019 Force Management Statement. Crest is proud to continue to help Bedfordshire to better understand its demand profile.



Chief Constable Garry Forsyth said:

"Previously, we relied on our professional judgement alone - Crest's demand forecasting means we have got a full and rounded understanding of the potential threat and risk for us into the future, we have now got real evidence. It's informed our workforce planning and it's informed our investment plans. We have much richer picture than we had before."

"Working with Crest is about quality insight and dialogue, it's different to working with other consultancies."


The UK's only consultancy dedicated to crime and justice.

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