On this morning’s Today programme, I heard a reference to the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA), an institution that I had not come across before. So I went to their website to find out more – thinking this may be how the police service has adopted a continuous improvement strategy. It turns out that the NPIA closed down almost exactly a year ago, with the services it provided being transferred to the Home Office, the College of Policing, and the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA). So had a CI strategy been adopted nationally, and if so, who has responsibility for it now?
The original website of the NPIA is now in the National Archives. A glance at this suggests the organisation had many roles, but CI was implicit rather than explicit. How its work was divided up gives more insight into what it was doing.
- The Home Office has taken responsibility for a wide number of support agencies and functions, such as forensics. It is clear that these were grouped together under the NPIA in order to achieve economies of scale and standards of national practice.
- The College of Policing has taken responsibility for the very large number of training and development courses previously offered by the NPIA.
- SOCA is now responsible for agencies most directly related to nation-wide crime, such as the Missing Persons Bureau and the Central Witness Bureau.
So it seems that “improvement” is now left to each individual police force across the country. I’ll be taking a look at how some of them go about this in future blogs.