Inspectors struggled to review force’s performance due to poor data presentation

A force has been criticised for obscuring its performance by presenting its goals and outcomes differently.

Apr 4, 2017
Danielle Thompsett

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) made it “difficult” to compare its performance targets with its 2015/16 end of year report, a review has found.

The Northern Ireland Audit Office report said the force did not set out measures in the same order or format, so inspectors could not properly assess how well it met targets.

The PSNI has also not fully acted on previous recommendations to “focus on the most important aspects of policing” by reducing the number of its performance indicators.

The Northern Ireland Policing Board met 77 per cent of its own objectives – down two per cent on 2014/15 – and partially achieved 17 per cent.

The report criticised the PSNI for not using measurable strategic outcomes in its policing plan for this year, and asked it to better consider how it frames its targets.

Deputy Chief Constable Drew Harris said the PSNI and Policing Board are addressing the report’s recommendations.

Meanwhile, Comptroller and Auditor General Kieran Donnelly warned that laws requiring the PSNI to improve itself every year are out of date.

Mr Donnelly said: “The legislation that underpins the audit of continuous improvement has been in place since 2000.

“Since then there have been significant changes in policing in Northern Ireland and in Great Britain. It is essential that the legislation continues to be relevant and linked to current initiatives in the justice system.

“In my view, it is now time for the Department of Justice to consider changes to the legislation governing continuous improvement.”

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