13th September 2022
There is a lot to like about the Victoria Police Corporate Plan https://www.police.vic.gov.au/victoria-police-corporate-plan-2022-2023, and the community we suggest will be pleased with the directions the Force is taking.
The Force priorities, even in the order they are listed, would undoubtedly resonate positively with the community.
- Community safety
- Reducing crime
- Reducing road trauma and
- Service delivery excellence.
Of these priorities, the most significant is Service delivery because, without effective Service delivery, the other priorities have a limited chance of success.
For all the excellent work in this Corporate Plan, there is, however, one glaring anomaly that strikes at and severely diminishes the value of this document; the lack of outcomes measurement.
How will the community, or for that matter the Force, know if the plan has worked?
That anomaly will be addressed as part of a further article on organisational management practices.
A failure of police administration’s past has seen confusion evolve with the Service delivery concept. Overlaying the Service delivery function with Service efficiency; two distinct and often diametrically opposed concepts that can constantly work against each other, have gone a long way to disconnecting police from the community.
No better example exists than discontinuing a phone switchboard facility for Police Headquarters, the Victoria Police Centre.
You can not ring Victoria Police Headquarters per se.
The abandonment of this resource would clearly be Service efficiency at a substantial cost to Service delivery.
A clearer example from a CAA member of this failure is unlikely; we hope;
… on Monday, (5th Sep.) I (a Police veteran) telephoned the VicPol number 131 444, to find out a contact point for an acquaintance (who was aware of my previous experience in Fraud matters) who wanted to report a major fraud to the Fraud Squad, after he had tried and failed. All I got was a recorded message to either press 1 or 2. I pressed 1 and was told by a recorded message that my call would be answered in 40 minutes, YES – 40 minutes. I hung up.
This is a clear and dramatic failure of Service delivery and rates up there with the failures to deliver Freedom of Information (FIO) requests stretching out to nine months.
We strongly suspect the culprit is a management one – benchmarking and accountabilities would seem the obvious culprits and must be resolved before the alternative of simply throwing more resources at the problem, the current go-to option, which should never be done without the other drivers being examined.
We will have more to say on these and other management concepts in following articles because the problem is severe.
Addressing these apparent weaknesses will go a long way toward improving the performance of both Police operations and Police management from an output and welfare basis.
Service delivery, however, must be viewed from the user’s (the community) perspective, where Service efficiency is viewed from an organisation’s economic or resource perspective.
Another common fallacy is that an organisation assumes that the consumer knows how to navigate through a large organisation. This often flawed assumption is aggravated by accusing the failure or pushing responsibility to gain access to the user, a critical flaw.
Good communication is the lifeblood of policing, administratively and operationally, so placing barriers across communication channels is counterintuitive.
Private corporations and other public entities have suffered the same clash but are now a wake-up and are making huge improvements. The move from offshore call centres is but one example.
However, we hope that with Service delivery now a priority, we will see vast improvements in policing.
The measurement knowledge referred to earlier is an entitlement the community could reasonably expect, and any broad overarching global statistical response will not reasonably satisfy the public who want to know how the plan has worked in their community; not just the State or some region that makes no geographical sense to the general public.
There are also a number of parameters that the community would want and are entitled to know at a local level not serviced by the usual key factors like crime and road toll statistics.
The failure to provide this information feeds the community’s view of a lack of transparency and accountability of Victoria Police which is contrary to the intent of the Chief Commissioner.
How is it anticipated that community confidence in their police will grow if they don’t know how the Force is responding to their needs?
There may well be internal measuring that, for whatever reason, are not made public, which detracts from the plan’s strengths and feeds the perception of the siege mentality towards the community the organisation has developed.
We know the Chief Commissioner supports transparency and accountability, but it is not being practised when viewed externally, so we need to look at the cause.
The level achieved towards the nirvana of good community relations is directly proportionate to the effectiveness of Policing overall and visa-versa. One begets the other.
The community’s compliance with the law because they want to will always trump compliance because they must.
Equally and most critically, the higher the level of confidence the public has in the Force is directly correlated to the quality, frequency and strength of information flow from the public and voluntary compliance.
So, it is overwhelmingly evident that timely and open communication with the public is the key to the effectiveness of policing.
A void in information causes and encourages misinformation to be promulgated to fill the gap. No better example was the misfortune that the Premier suffered in a fall. The misinformation seen by many as fact, filling the void in information, was extraordinary.
The other side of the coin is the intangibles, where competent management excels and lesser managers fail.
The intangibles like police attitude and enthusiasm to perform their duties are bolstered if they work in a positive community environment. Good communications from police drive that positive environment.
Hence the critical role of effective Service delivery.
This before an election what would happen after the election will Dan still own them and use them against the very people they were ment to protect? The last two years they showed appalling behaviour. What is put in place to stop that. Also one needs to question why the politicians haven’t been taken to task for all their corruption.
The new political Parties are saying they are going to change the Laws but they all do not know what
is involved as the Laws have been changed so much that to change them would take many years so that
would not work. The UN has been very smart in the way the Laws have been changed and by the time
the Laws are changed to what they should be the time has passed. The UN will have got control of
Australia and then it is too late. What the new parties must do is remove all the Laws and replace them
with the Laws of about 1980 to 1990’s and amend them to comply with todays times, I mean the Acts
(Laws made by Parliament). What the new Parliament must understand is in 1990’s the High Court Act
was about 50-60 pages long but now it is about 600 pages long. It is not only the High Court Acts it is
all the Acts. To try and make all those changes would take years and that is too long, so replace them.
To amend Laws that are about 60 pages long would be much simpler than to amend Laws that are 600
pages long. An old saying: “Simplicity first”.
It would seem the Liberals, Labor and Greens have allegiance to a foreign power.
Sorry, Now have minimal trust in the Police. It appears they do little except squeeze normal people with minor yet expensive fines , kill more people than criminals seem to an more regularly, use little to no discretion. Opting to reach for their guns, intimidation and threat as first options. This appears yet another excuse to bully and shoot first and cover up later Using the mandate of” because people want better law enforcement”. I dont believe the Police have any clue on decency and community Policing anymore.
Agree that the priorities are positive- but this should be core anyway.
My concern however is that senior management and government will give overweight attention to unwritten priorities that may in fact clash- including not least the allocation of limited human and financial resources of Vic Pol.
This is best illustrated by the reports Ambulance Victoria, for example, allocating significant precious resources to HR diversity projects at the expense of the core business of supporting critical urgent ambulance callouts.
The solution to the systemic Vic Pol problems calls for 1)- the right priorities and 2) the right leadership and culture. 10 will not work if 2) is flawed.
Surely the last 2 years of policing in Victoria has resulted in the worst public relations record ever! Why would they make it more difficult to deliver “good service” at this time when the most important feature (namely, the ability for we the people to be able to gain actual access to the police authority) is being ignored?
The Victoria police need some serious psycho analysis to happen!
Communication with the public went out the window years ago when they diverted phones through to larger cities,instead of local 24 hour stations as previously done. Smaller stations calls went to these WHK who immediately gave the message to either that smaller stations vehicle or nearest unit for attention. Local knowledge of the area plays a big part in this action as well. Nowadays the call goes to a city 300 km away,with no knowledge of area or availability etc.of units. That is if you actually speak to someone at the other end. You walk in to a large station such as Warrnambool nowadays and you will be greeted by an empty counter where you may wait for twenty minutes or more for someone to come from behind the one way glass partition. If you ring the stations all you get is diversion recordings.No personal service at all. From memory it wasn’t that hard to have WHK rostered each shift and who answered every phone call as they came in and attended to matters or switched them through to appropriate unit. We have gone backwards quickly and as for police behaviour in recent times in their treatment of the public, I would not even pass a comment on disgusting attitude, I am just waiting for their uniform to include jackboots.
I remember those days when the Police were personable and respected on the whole. Jack boots now would match the general demeanor of the average office in the street, but what do we dress the real culprits of the issues discussed here in? The foot soldiers can only follow the examples set by their leaders. Lets focus on removing them instead of focusing on the larger crowd. Remove the head and the rest can be re-set to past greater service. As for what to dress the head offenders in… prison garb seems very appropriate.