Understanding overlapping demand across policing, local authorities and health services - and the potential for a more preventative, joined up approach
A police force in England was experiencing major challenges in meeting its demand amid shrinking budgets and increasing pressure on other local public services. The chief constable was keen to understand the role of non-crime incidents, in particular mental health, anti social behaviour and missing children.
Crest was jointly funded by the force, local authorities and health services to quantify this rising demand, to understand the impact on the system as a whole (not just individual agencies) and to assess the opportunities to collectively manage demand at source.
Crest collected and analysed data from the force, from local authorities and from the health services (both published and unpublished) to quantify the scale of demand across public services and model its impact. The team undertook interviews with commissioners and practitioners to explore the potential for a more joined up approach to handling cases involving mental health, missing children, anti social behaviour and other non-crime incidents police were managing. We presented our findings and recommendations to an executive leadership group comprising the chief constable, local authority chief executives and senior health commissioners.
Our analysis generated key insights including an over-reliance on the police to provide 24/7 cover with evidence of cost-shunting between agencies e.g. a spike in mental health demand on police at 5pm on Fridays. We found a large proportion of mental health-related demand and missing children demand was driven by a small number of ‘repeat customers’. We recommended the establishment of a new strategic demand model for the area for police, local authorities and health services to identify areas of shared demand consider pooling budgets. Crest has been since re-commissioned by the force to deliver further demand analysis.