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Reorganisation into a unified police authority. Interim report 2 – about the new organisation’s impact (2017:10)

On 1 January 2015, the Swedish Police were reorganised into a unified authority. The Government has commissioned the Swedish Agency for Public Management (Statskontoret) to evaluate the reform. This report is the second interim report. Statskontoret will submit its final report no later than 1 October 2018.

For this interim report, we investigated the reform’s impact and how the Police Authority uses the possibilities of clear management and governance that the unified authority provides. This is both a goal in itself and a prerequisite for achieving other goals of the reform. In the final report, we will decide on how well the reform’s overall objectives have been achieved, in other words if the reorganisation of the Police has created conditions for better operating results and higher quality in the police work.

Statskontoret assesses that, since we published our first interim report in October 2016, the development has been positive in several aspects. For example, all ordinary managers have now been appointed and the support departments have developed their operationally oriented support of the core operations. At the same time, there are several challenges that the Police Authority needs to handle if the objectives of the reform are to be able to be reached in the long term, which we present an account of in the following.

Police Authority governance not achieving full impact

Statskontoret deems that the Police Authority’s governance has not achieved its full impact. Among other things, this leads to worse conditions of achieving equal service to the citizens and higher effectiveness in the work.

Statskontoret’s evaluation shows that governance is not adequately coordinated and rooted, which in practice leads to it being left up to the local managers to prioritise various control signals. The authority has also not succeeded in internally communicating what resource expectations are realistic for different parts of the operations. In addition, the documentation for governance is not always complete. When the authority decides on development initiatives, there is often a lack of more detailed analyses for the authority as a whole and what financial consequences the initiatives will have. We note that the cost savings are not in synch with the quality improvement measures being implemented as a part of the reorganisation.

New organisation’s possibilities should be better utilised

To achieve the objectives of the reform, the Police Authority needs to get better at using the possibilities offered by the new organisation. Governance needs to be based on a holistic perspective and there is a need for the Police Authority to set clear priorities. The authority’s governance also needs to take more consideration of the conditions of the operations in the form of available resources and skills development needs.

The Police Authority uses process control to ensure uniformity. For the process control to have an impact, those who are responsible for it need to achieve a consensus. It is also necessary that the authority has procedures for communicating decisions and that the employees in core operations are involved in this work. We also believe that the Police Authority needs to analyse what areas are suitable for steering through processes.

Statskontoret furthermore believes that the Police Authority needs to find a balance between central governance and local responsibility. The Police Authority also needs to give priority to activities that support the group managers in their role as leaders. They are the key to functioning internal communication. Statskontoret also confirms that operational follow-up has not yet been adapted so that it supports governance.

Better conditions for local work

Statskontoret deems that the conditions have improved for the police to be able to strengthen local work and get closer to the citizens. The municipalities have an overwhelmingly positive view of the Police Authority having introducing citizen promises and appointed municipal police officers. Our evaluation also shows that the conditions for stronger collegiality have improved. What the authority calls the employee-driven development work has not gotten started everywhere, however. If the authority is to achieve locally rooted work, the employees need to be involved in the development efforts.

Challenges remain for the local work

Statskontoret notes that there are several challenges to achieve the goal of getting closer to the citizens in the long term. Among other things, it is important to keep experienced employees to be able to work long term and clarify the roll of the area police officers. The Police Authority also needs to maintain quality in the support of the core operations when savings are made and be able to provide adequate management support to managers heavily loaded by administration.

Risk that the results of investigation operations will not turn around

The results in the investigation operations have been declining for a long time. The idea is that the reorganisation will contribute to strengthening the Police’s ability to investigate crime. However, according to our survey, prosecutors asses that the quality and productivity of the Police's investigation work so far has deteriorated since the reorganisation. According to our survey, relatively few of the Police’s employees believe that the reorganisation will lead to a better investigative ability in the long term. Statskontoret confirms that there is still a major challenge for the Police to turn the negative results trend.

Better cooperation to utilise the benefits of new initiatives

The reorganisation means that the Police Authority is conducting measures that in the long term can contribute to better results for the investigation operations. But it is still too early to be able to discern any such effects. The Police Authority needs to ensure that the measures lead to more effective work in the investigation operations as a whole. To achieve the full impact of the new or developed functions, they need to be integrated with the rest of the investigation operations. For example, there needs to be transfer points for both the work that the crime coordination functions do and for the investigation work that the Police’s contact centre will contribute to.

The Police Authority also needs to bridge the territories that exist between the different levels in the investigation operations according to some managers and employees. The territories impede the possibilities of conducting effective investigation work. The Police also need to review the distribution of resources and develop cooperation channels with the Swedish Prosecution Authority.