Mary Gober’s Clinic – Setting a New Standard in Service – The Policing Pledge
Would you like an example of really being customer-driven, customer-focused?
As a professional in the customer service arena, and as a citizen, I wanted you to be aware of a monumental and revolutionary change that is underway in the 43 police services and authorities across Britain.
I became aware of this important development as a result of working closely with West Mercia Police (4th largest Policing District in Britain) helping them implement the Home Office Citizen Focus Agenda and the Policing Pledge.
Starting this year, the Home Office has published a single national target for the police – so the police service answers to the public – not the government. It is now local people and communities, rather than central government, telling the police what service they need and holding them to account via The Policing Pledge.
How are they doing it? By being bold – scrapping all but one central target – to raise public confidence. This fundamental shift in police accountability and reporting has been instituted to dramatically improve customer service and engage with communities so that by working together, crime and anti-social behavior, that matter to citizens locally, are being addressed.
Confidence levels currently vary across the country with the latest national average at 46%. This single-minded focus was set as a deliberate, serious challenge. The Home Office believes the target needs to be challenging if a real change in public confidence in the police is to occur.
By 2012, the national target is that 60% of people are confident that their police service is satisfactorily addressing what matters to them locally, so they can get on with their lives.
The Policing Pledge is described as a ‘deal’ between the police and the public. It sets out what citizens can expect from police nationally and locally – such as minimum standards on response times, crime maps, local crime information and very importantly, monthly meetings.
To support the police in delivering this new confidence target, there is a package of slashes to red tape freeing up time to enable every officer to spend at least 80% of their time visibly working in neighborhoods and patrolling at the times and places where citizens tell them they are needed the most.
There is also a real step-up in public meetings which are scheduled at least once a month to decide policing priorities with citizens, to meet local needs and provide updates on local crime and police activity. At the meetings, information is given on specific crimes, what has happened to those brought to justice and details of what actions are being taken to make the neighborhood safer – all in a determined effort to drive up confidence.
I have been very impressed with the practical customer-centricity of the Policing Pledge. I encourage you to read it and discuss it with your team. Customer-centric is sometimes seen as an academic term – however, as you read the 10 points in the Pledge, you will discover a fine example of customer-centricity in action. You can find the Policing Pledge on the Home Office website.
I also would encourage you to consider attending your neighborhood police public meetings. Not only will your input be valuable as a citizen of your community, you will also see a dynamic example of how to engage and listen to customers, find ways to understand their needs and deliver what is important to them. I am sure we will all gain as we learn from the police – they are doing pioneering work and setting a new standard in customer service for all of us.