So, you have decided to log demand into the police. Make sure you look at all the demands coming in, they come in on the phone, by email, and into the enquiry counters. And what about when officers are on the beat, and from the phone at enquiry counters, don't forget those...
Then a table is made up of demand. And if youre thinking a little further, you decide to focus using an outside-in perspective, to see what REAL demands are coming in. So split the demand into value and failure demands. Take a systems thinking view of demand.
The demand coming into the police are far more tricky to analyse than transactional based system. Why? well, because these demands are:
1. They are varied. Some demand is a simple questions, some are for requests for police service, and others are just plain calls for help. If you try and combine them together, on a spreadsheet, then you may be working with data that is just too summarised to make any real decisions on. A demand for a shotgun licence, to a call to attend a historic burglary, to a call for a domestic issue, to a call asking about help on a civil matter. Some of those demands will take a great deal of time to answer, and what matters to the caller and the subsequent response is vastly different.
2. In a simpler system, like a bank, a demand is a call for service, and the service delivery follows that demand. With the police a demand may be followed up by subsequent demands, that are of value. They represent communciation that is part of the flow of work. Maybe in these cases it is better to view these demands as in process demands.
If you treat the demands above as the same for computational and analysis purposes, you will aggregate apples and pairs as being the same fruit. And how useful will the information be? Maybe a better way is to look at the police system from an outside in perspective, and group demands into:
a. Transactional demands - that starts as a demand from the public, and the police provide a service or answer, and then it is complete. These transactional demands can then be further categorised.
b. Help me demands - where a member of the public needs help and support. These cases are sometimes complex, sometimes not directly do with the police, and their resolution may be long term.
c. Different types of demands follow different flows of work. If they do, then these demands are different and be wary of aggregating them into statistics.
So, whats the best thing to do with demands into the police? Be very wary of categorising them to any standard apart from that from the outside in perspective, and use what matters as a guide. Then you will create groups of demands that will truly be useful to operations to analyse how to deal with them.
Lean, or systems thinking gives a view of your organisation that is often difficult to view, in todays pressured and prioritised environment. Using it will help you to see why certain issues remain resistant to change, regardless of how many consultants, or how much money is thrown at it.
A link to Joan Donnelly article on Demand, from Policing Insight here