Part 3: Identifying and sharing good practice for dealing with dwelling burglary

In this Part, we describe:

  • our findings in 2001 about how the Police formally identify, evaluate, and share good practice for dealing with dwelling burglary; and
  • our findings in 2005.

Identifying and sharing good practice in 2001

In 2001, the formal identification, evaluation, and sharing within the Police of good practice for dealing with dwelling burglary was limited.

Although there was some sharing of good practice between Districts and from the Office of the Commissioner, there was much scope for improvement. There was less interaction between managers at the Area level, and the interaction was mainly limited to other Areas within the same District.

We recommended that the Police consider:

  • more formal evaluation of approaches, tools and practices that are considered to have high potential benefits if replicated across Districts; and
  • establishing methods for sharing good practice.

Our findings in 2005

Since 2001, the Police have significantly improved their formal mechanisms for identifying, evaluating, and sharing good practice.

The Office of the Commissioner’s promotion of good practice

Nationally, we identified 2 groups within the Office of the Commissioner that have had a strong role in promoting good practice around the Police – the Policing Development Group, and the Organisational Performance Group.

The Policing Development Group was often cited in our case studies as a promoter of the adoption of intelligence-led policing throughout Districts. Although Districts (or their Commanders) have adopted the Crime Reduction Model with varying speeds since 2001, all are making greater use of intelligence-led policing.

To promote good practice, the Organisational Performance Group conducts bi-annual District Performance Reviews. The reviews aim to identify the performance strengths of a District, and provide non-prescriptive suggestions for improvement. The reviews involve a formal assessment of each District’s performance against targets previously agreed between the Office of the Commissioner and the District. The reviews are discussed in more detail in Part 5.

We looked at District Performance Reviews for the 4 Districts covering the Police Areas we used as case studies. We compared the latest reviews (covering the year to 30 June 2005) with reviews completed in 2002-03. The performance review process has become increasingly sophisticated, and the latest reviews contain more detail and suggestions for improvement.

Sharing good practice between Districts and Areas

We identified 3 main ways the Police have increased, or are working to increase, the sharing of good practice between different Districts and Areas:

  • Area Clusters;
  • conferences; and
  • setting up a Policing Development Manager role in Districts.

Area Clusters are a recent initiative managed by the Organisational Performance Group, and set up in association with both internal and external advisors. Police Areas have been grouped into 5 clusters, according to their socio-economic and demographic similarity (variables known to correlate with causing crime or reducing community safety). The aims of the clustering are to:

  • encourage the identification and sharing of successful solutions to factors contributing to crime; and
  • enable benchmarking comparisons to be made between similar Areas.

In the Police Areas we studied, the Area Clusters initiative is generally regarded favourably, but progress has so far been limited. The Area Clusters were finalised in early 2005. Most Area Clusters have begun to meet and interact, and meeting documentation and attendee feedback indicates that members are exchanging good practice for addressing common factors contributing to crime.

The Area Clusters initiative has the potential to be a highly useful tool for Police to learn about new and effective ways to address factors contributing to crimes in their Areas. There is a risk, however, that some Areas may start assessing their performance against other Areas in their Cluster, instead of maintaining a national focus. Performance targets are set at the District level, in keeping with Police national objectives. Areas are therefore monitored against the performance targets of their Districts, not their Cluster.9

Recommendation 3
We recommend that the New Zealand Police monitor progress of the Area Clusters initiative, including assessing its effectiveness in disseminating good practice. If applicable, the reasons why some of the Area Cluster groups do not interact should be identified and addressed.

The Police regularly organise conferences, and typically cater to specific ranks or roles. For example, there are regular District Commander, Area Commander, and Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB) conferences. The Policing Development Group of the Office of the Commissioner has also run conferences, in association with the Royal New Zealand Police College, that are used to disseminate new concepts such as the Crime Reduction Model.

We reviewed some of this conference material, and found that conferences commonly include presentations by international crime or policing experts and sharing of good practice. In our interviews, the Police spoke positively about the value of conferences for learning about good practice, and new ways to tackle factors contributing to crime. Part of the value of these conferences is the informal sharing of information that occurs between Police officers.

Policing Development Managers in each District are senior managers whose role has grown since our 2001 report. The positions were introduced during our 2001 audit. Policing Development Managers report directly to District Commanders, and are responsible for providing a formal link between the Police’s national strategy and priorities, and District actions.10 They form a network for identifying good practice and disseminating it throughout their Districts.

The Policing Development Managers also extract relevant sections of the Statement of Intent and other Police strategy documents, and disseminate them to frontline officers and other staff. We consider this good practice because it helps communicate strategic direction throughout the Police.

Electronic sharing of information

The role of the Police intranet and e-mail groups has widened since 2001. They are now significant tools used by the Police for sharing information and good practice. The Policing Development Group and Organisational Performance Group of the Office of the Commissioner often use these communication methods to feature examples of good practice (both national and international examples).11 An information-sharing tool originally set up to share information between District Policing Development Managers has also grown into a well-used source of good practice.

A system has been set up to allow Police staff to submit brief summaries of initiatives that work to reduce crime or crashes, and increase community safety. The summaries are placed on the Police intranet under a “what works” best practice section of case studies. The intention of this initiative is to share successful responses to specific factors contributing to crime, and reduce the potential for “reinventing the wheel”.

We reviewed an example specific to dwelling burglary, submitted by the Wellington Area about the creation of a dedicated Burglary Attendance Squad. The submission concisely:

  • summarised the project and its objectives;
  • explained the specific problems it aimed to address (increased reported burglaries and Police response issues); and
  • outlined the effect of the initiative (including improved Police response times, and a marked decrease in reported burglaries).

There is wide knowledge of, and referral to, these electronic sources of good policing practice in the case study Areas we examined. However, Police staff have some difficulty finding material, because a number of different databases and other information sources have evolved, covering similar content. A formal examination of how the systems can be streamlined or integrated with each other would help build on the progress already made by the Police.

Recommendation 4
We recommend that the New Zealand Police review the existing electronic systems for disseminating good practice and information across all sections of the organisation, and assess whether the systems’ accessibility and search functions can be improved.

9: Monitoring against performance targets is discussed in more detail in Part 5.

10: This includes having the major responsibility for producing District Business Plans and strategy documents.

11: District and Area personnel can also submit initiatives.

page top