Book News: October 8th, 2013

The stated mission of the police service is to ‘serve and protect’ the public. But a string of centrally imposed, top-down management ‘fixes’ has forced many officers to focus instead on serving the demands of a command-and-control hierarchy driven by dysfunctional performance measures, arbitrary targets and form-filling and to protect their own backs against blame. (Other public sector workers may recognise this environment.)

In this book Simon Guilfoyle critically analyses the fundamental flaws that underpin the series of ill-conceived, private sector management models imposed on the police service in recent years and reveals that:
• Officers’ attention has turned inwards in a desperate attempt to meet arbitrary targets and to comply with disproportionate audit and inspection regimes.
• Performance measurement has often been reduced to a management-by-numbers approach which results in fellow officers having to compete with each other in order to ‘win’.
• Using wrong measures leads to wrong conclusions, wrong policies and wrong priorities.
• Badly designed processes damage service delivery and fuel increasing levels of unnecessary bureaucracy.
• A failure to understand waste and rework leads to more and more resources being devoted to putting things right after they’ve gone wrong – instead of getting things right first time.
• Focusing on reducing costs through shared services, economies of scale and joint ‘back offices’ always and inevitably means increased failure demand and increased costs.
• Officers feel demoralised because these so called ‘fixes’ inhibit their capacity to serve and protect the general public.

Conventional management practice isn’t working.

In Intelligent Policing, Simon Guilfoyle proposes a simple and elegant systems thinking solution that refocuses activity outwards, on the needs of the service user. He pulls together the evidence from systems thinking giants like W. Edwards Deming, from radical public sector innovator John Seddon, from Statistical Process Control and a mass of other tried-and-tested systems approaches, and from his own experience in the force.

Published by Trearchy Press. ISBN: 978-1-909470-05-7. £20.00