The response team doesn't really have many measures but of course we contribute overall to the public confidence indicators. I would have thought that getting to the calls within the time limits was our number one priority. Arrest figures and MDT (Mobile Data Terminal) statistics can also show if a team is performing but to a lesser extent. Since a few weeks back we have also been judged on our single patrol performance.
Now to be consistent I'm not against single patrol per se however I always saw a conflict between call times and the need to single patrol. To lose 6 officers to foot patrol on day shift was always going to cause me problems. It can be done up to about 2pm but thereafter the demand has always stretched us. I made a decision to ignore single patrolling and let my officers be sensible in answering the calls.
To do this 6 walkers were posted on foot off vehicles so the single patrol monitoring dept (Yes there is one) were able to see our percentage of single patrols meet their set limits. All I asked of the drivers was that when they picked up a walker and took them to a call where only one officer was required, the driver would then go and deal with a similar task before picking the walker up again and so on. This satisfied my obsessions around time and motion and maintained morale on team. We were in fact working much smarter. I would also downgrade some of the calls which in my opinion had been graded incorrectly by the call centre. They have to grade according to set guidelines and the log can only be changed by a patrol supervisor. In days gone past the old controller would have used common sense to do this.
When we were beginning to lose it I'd make the decision and abandon single patrol and put the walker back in the car as an operator. Common sense policing in action and everybody's happy as far as I can see. The slight problem is our call targets have actually been improving and the charade is making the single patrol policy look good, when in reality we've not really been doing it. We call this in the trade "Making The Job Work". Elsewhere I've heard of Divisions sticking to it to the letter and call times have plummeted.
As much as I liked to be proved right and see the improved figures (i.e. Getting to more calls in a shift and keeping the punters happy), some other teams had kept to the policy and their call times sunk making it pretty obvious who wasn't playing ball. It has now been agreed that all teams will not find ways round the policy and be expected to comply. It will be quite interesting to see the MDT stats fall off the cliff as you can't drive and use it at the same time. The call times I also expect to head South. I've already spent time between my other commitments looking at the ever lengthening list of outstanding calls and I'm starting to twitch. My only consolation is the knowledge that whoever's in charge of call times and MDT stats at headquarters is going to be very stressed in a few weeks time.
How this contributes to keeping the the general public happy please feel free to explain to me. I can just see more people getting upset when we don't turn up promptly. I know how to run a response team and wish the centre would just leave me to it.
Oh and did I mention that most of the team are now looking for jobs off response?