“but only those which had a score were recorded in their annual reports…”

This’ll have to you laughing (not)! The poor old PSNI missed more than half their targets says NI’S Comptroller and Auditor General. Then he, rather patiently, explains exactly why

The Policing Board and PSNI have continued to make progress in developing appropriate targets for the Policing Plan, but there is still room for further improvement. In particular, there are too many targets.

A reduction in the number of targets would help to ensure that efforts are clearly focused on improving performance in line with strategic priorities.

But why? As the Bel Tel notes…

The Policing Plan comprised 10 outcomes with 29 performance indicators and 50 associated performance measures.
It was structured around four categories — personal policing, professional policing and protective policing and the overarching objective of increasing confidence.

Both the PSNI and Policing Board are obliged to make the results available to members of the public, but only those which had a score were recorded in their annual reports. Such limited information did not give the reader a proper understanding of the PSNI’s performance against its own targets, the Audit Office said.

Aha. Jonathan Craig, chair of the board’s performance committee, throws some light on the matter

Last year, the board was very keen to set targets for the police. The police have been fighting back and saying there were far too many targets.

The auditor general made it very clear there should be targets. I think that the lack of agreement and research behind the targets that were set has led to this situation where we now find over half of those targets have not been met.

Mr Craig said it looked like some of the targets were not realistic, however he added; “It also looks like some of them were, quite frankly, ignored by the police and not enough effort was made to actually meet those targets.”

Aha. This looks like nother case of political grandstanding on the part of the Policing Board. A few less open ‘grandstanding’ sessions and a few more closed sessions which press hard on what’s actually needed from the cops might help?

Also instructive is the fact that the Board’s annual report was even less open about the missing of targets even than the PSNI’s.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty