PCC on 2012-10-25
Session date: 
October 25, 2012
Question By: 
Roger Evans
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
Craig Mackey, Deputy Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis


I think my colleagues may have picked some of the cherries out of this by the time I got here. Just to explore the targets, first of all, Deputy Commissioner, let us talk about the culture that target-setting creates. How do you make sure that the targets which you set drive performance and measure performance rather than create incentives to do things that we would not want people to do, make people focus in the wrong direction or even dare I say it fabricate results?

Supplementary Questions: 


Answer for Targets

Answer for Targets

Answered By: 
Craig Mackey, Deputy Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis

Craig Mackey (Deputy Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service): Those are real issues in terms of the challenge around it. First of all, you need a robust performance management framework. You cannot do anything around targets. First of all, we have targets at that very high level. We as the people underneath it need to understand down to a process level what the impact is of having a target on X in terms of what happens in the custody suite at Croydon at 3.00am in the morning. You really need to understand the process to be able to know where the targets are going to work. That is what the performance management system does. It has to work right across the organisation, the performance management system. It has to start from a ward level right to a pan-London level and we have that.

What you also need, and the piece of work that feeds into that performance regime, is you need an auditing mechanism.You need an integrity check on data. Part of the work that goes on is around things like national crime recording standards, national standards for incident recording, so when you look at the data for I will make it up - a borough that is all green, you also know that the data integrity is green. If the data integrity is red or amber, you might want to ask a few questions about the data. You have to have those systems. Without that, you can end up with a scenario as you described in your question where data can move and you do not really understand why that has happened. We need that whole system which is in place in the MPS. If you went to a Territorial Policing crime-fighters session where the 32 borough commanders and their teams are together and they are talking about it, part of what they will talk about is the integrity of the data.

I think over the years there have been so many problems in the past with police data that everyone, I hope, has reached a position where they know playing around with data in the long run just does immense damage to that other indicator we are worried about, around public confidence.

Roger Evans (AM): Do you look at deviation from the mean on data, in other words, if you have one borough that is getting 100% and everyone else is getting 60% odd?

Craig Mackey (Deputy Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service): Yes, so you look at outliers. Realistically - sorry to cut across you - you do look at outliers at either end in terms of those that are performing really badly. We use a whole range of things from standard deviation to those longer trends of time. For instance, as we approach autumn nights, we know the types of crime that we are expecting to move and we have put a variety of things in place around autumn nights, so that whole range of analysis supports the data that we look at.

Roger Evans (AM): Can we just look at the seven crime categories that you have? I noticed your very first one is violence with injury. Why is that? Why is it not violence against the person?

Craig Mackey (Deputy Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service): I do not know why we went for that. It is violence with injury and you would like the wider violence against the person?

Roger Evans (AM): Violence against the person I think is what we have used in the past. Violence with injury of course will not include threats of violence or attempted injuries.

Craig Mackey (Deputy Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service): Yes. I think violence with injury is probably a more realistic expectation of what people see on the street. I think the thing that worries us all and certainly members of the public I talk to is something where you end up experiencing an injury. I think you could have that wider category but it does draw in everything from harassment texts to a whole range of other things.

Roger Evans (AM): OK, so looking at knife crime, for instance

Craig Mackey (Deputy Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service): It would be knife crime. It would be assaults.

Roger Evans (AM): But how do you identify a knife crime separately. That is something the Mayor is concerned about. It has been a key matter and it does not stand out there.

Craig Mackey (Deputy Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service): It does not stand out there. In our weekly data monitoring, knife crime and knife crime with injury is recorded as well.

Tony Arbour (AM): Possession of a bladed article?

Roger Evans (AM): Indeed, my colleague makes a good point here, which I was going to come on to. If you are looking at violence with injury, then a threatened knife attack will not be included. A knife attack where the blade gets caught in someone's clothing and deflected will not be included. Possession of a bladed weapon, as my colleague said, will not be included. Are you not diluting the figures here and actually making it look better just because of the figures you are choosing rather than because of the improvement?

Andrew Morley (Interim Chief Executive, Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime): I do not accept that point and I go back to my earlier point that this is not an exclusive performance management regime. I think what I am hearing from the Committee, which I think is helpful, is to see how these seven targets fit with the broader performance regime that operates within the MPS. I think that will give you a better sense of what it is we are monitoring and what the MPS has set internal targets for and what targets we are set as MOPAC. As you rightly say, knife crime is a key priority for the Mayor and we continue to look at that very closely both in terms of performance and also in terms of activity to impact on that.

One should not read in these targets that that means that we are deprioritising or not looking at other areas of activity. There will always be an element of judgement in identifying what the seven types would have been and there can be a discussion about whether that was right or wrong. These are the targets that were identified for the reasons that I articulated. The experience from things like the public attitudinal survey and other surveys we have done would suggest that these are the crime types that resonate most with the public and with Londoners. Within that you could have a debate about whether something else may or may not be included. The point I would make is that the identification of the seven does not mean that we are not very robust in monitoring performance against other crime types and other issues of concern.

Roger Evans (AM): All right. I am sure the Committee will want to come back to that because I think we have maybe exposed an important blind spot here.

Just looking at your other targets, theft of a motor vehicle and theft from a motor vehicle are two separate categories. Why is that?

Andrew Morley (Interim Chief Executive, Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime): Because they are two separate offences. In one you take the car away and in one you break in and

Roger Evans (AM): Yes, but they often take place together and they are pretty much synonymous. They are what my residents know as vehicle crime.

Craig Mackey (Deputy Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service): No, it is not. I understand they would put it in that group. They are not necessarily the same crime and the numbers are quite different. If I give you the running totals at the moment, theft from motor vehicles is about three times the level of theft of vehicles. Whilst clearly, I suppose unless you left the car open, it is very difficult not to do damage or to break into a car to steal it, they are quite different and often the reason and the offenders will be two quite different groups.

Roger Evans (AM): Is not the reason that theft of a motor vehicles has gone down that the manufacturers have made it harder to steal the vehicle, whereas it may still be just as easy to get the things out from inside it?

Craig Mackey (Deputy Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service): Of course there is some of that, but you will also have read, and you will have seen some of the commentary in the national media, that even with some of the new security devices, theft of motor vehicles is still a challenge. One of the challenges that we see around theft of motor vehicles now is the need for people to get the keys and the immobiliser, so fishing hook burglaries, accosting people in the street for keys, that is the theft of motor vehicles.

Roger Evans (AM): So if someone breaks into my house, steals the keys and steals the car, that would count as two items on this agenda?

Craig Mackey (Deputy Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service): Two crimes, yes.

Roger Evans (AM): That is something else that maybe we need to watch.

Craig Mackey (Deputy Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service): Can I just come back to your point on knife crime, just to reassure you in relation to the weekly monitoring on knife crime. Serious youth violence, as I think the Chair asked me earlier, is weekly, knife crime, both incidents of it and sanction detection rate, and then another group of gun crime and gun sanction detection rates, in terms of where we are. The MPS, as part of its suite of indicators, is monitoring that, both on a daily, but producing it on a weekly basis.

Roger Evans (AM): Yes, OK, I think that is a separate issue for us in the future. I am sure we will come back to knife crime.