Report 5 of the 7 April 2011 meeting of the Strategic and Operational Policing Committee, with an overview of the internal MPS review that has been carried out into the Territorial Support Group.
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Central Operations - internal review of the Territorial Support Group (TSG)
Date: 7 April 2011
By: Assistant Commissioner Central Operations on behalf of the Commissioner
This report provides an overview of the internal MPS review that has been carried out into the Territorial Support Group and recommendations that were made as a result. This report also outlines the substantial progress made in implementing these recommendations, some of which are longer term projects and are still ongoing.
- Members are requested to note the contents of the report and make any comments.
B. Supporting information
1. This report provides an overview of the internal review that has been carried out by the Metropolitan Police Service Territorial Support Group (TSG). This review was initiated by the TSG OCU Commander as a result of the lessons learnt by the MPS following the G20 protests in April 2009 and the significant amount of interest this generated, both internally and externally, in the TSG. The purpose of this review was to take a critical look at existing processes and procedures in place within the TSG to ensure they were fit for purpose in terms of meeting the developing strategic priorities of the MPS, providing a good level of service delivery to meet customer needs and addressing areas of concern relating to professional standards and complaints. The desired outcome of this review was to positively enhance the image and reputation of the TSG, by openly and transparently addressing the issues raised.
2. The TSG is a pan London unit which has the capability to respond to major and critical incidents and to public disorder anywhere in the capital. The TSG also provides the MPS response to CBRN incidents, anti-terrorism patrols and supports Boroughs in reducing crime in high volume crime areas or by working alongside their Safer Neighbourhood Teams to address community concerns. The TSG consists of 777 officers in all ranks from constable to chief superintendent, and 34 police staff.
The Review Process.
3. The internal TSG review commenced late 2009 and was carried out by a TP Borough Chief Inspector, seconded into the TSG for this purpose; this encouraged a degree of independent thinking and ensured that TSG processes were viewed from a fresh perspective. The primary phase of this review aimed to seek the views of TSG staff and officers; this process took the form of one to one interviews with key operational base police staff; questionnaires circulated to all TSG units’ and one to one interviews with police constables and sergeants. Views of other key stakeholders and TSG customers were then sought in the secondary phase of this review process.
4. The initial fact finding work established that there were several key areas that were in need of further developmental work; these were put forward as recommendations within a development plan which was submitted to the TSG Senior Management Team (SMT). The key recommendations are shown in table 1 below.
Table 1 - Review recommendations.
|No.||Key Recommendations||Current status|
|1||Review TSG structure in terms of SMT resilience, base locations, the potential impact of a reduced Counter Terrorism (CT) budget and the Commissioner’s Reserve (CR) hours of operation.||Complete|
|2||Review TSG commitment to corporate tasking and safer neighbourhood policing.||Complete|
|3||Review TSG Skills in particular with regards to surveillance and increased firearms capability.||Complete|
|4||Ensure TSG is operationally prepared for the 2012 Olympics.||Ongoing|
|5||Review TSG finance processes to ensure corporacy across all bases and quality assurance processes implemented.||Complete|
|6||Review TSG complaints processes to ensure effective management processes are in place and compliance with MPS complaints policies and procedures to improve overall Professional Standards.||Complete|
|7||Develop TSG communication strategies and processes in order to improve both internal and external communication and raise awareness and perception of the TSG.||Partly complete, longer term project.|
|8||Review and update TSG Career Management policy and improve TSG recruitment processes.||Partly complete, longer term project.|
|9||Develop a TSG Community Engagement Strategy and look at developing a Public Order Community Reference Group to improve community links across the MPS in order to raise awareness of Public Order Policing.||Ongoing|
|10||Review and improve diversity awareness within the TSG.||Ongoing|
5. The secondary phase of the TSG Review commenced in March 2010, with the recruitment of a new Superintendent. This Superintendent became the strategic lead on the TSG Review, responsible for developing the work strands shown within the recommendations and implementing necessary changes.
6. A small team of officers was selected to work alongside the new Superintendent to assist in the development of these recommendations. As part of their brief, the review team were tasked to carry out further research and consultation within the TSG and with identified stakeholders and customers from across the MPS.
7. An overview is provided below of the work that has been undertaken by the review team in relation to each of the review recommendations and the outcome of this work strand. Some of this work is longer term and still ongoing. Throughout the process the ethos of Equalities Impact Assessment (EIA) has been adhered to, through EIA screening during the process and prior to implementation an EIA will be completed by the TSG Superintendent lead.
Recommendation 1 - TSG Structure.
8. Following on from the G20 protests and the focus this placed on Professional Standards within the TSG, both internally and externally, the TSG OCU Commander felt it appropriate to review the roles and responsibilities of the SMT; he wanted to ensure that he had a strong and resilient management team in place to address the challenges facing the TSG post G20 and one that was able to meet the significant up and coming demands particularly in terms of the 2012 Olympics.
9. The Review process identified concerns amongst staff about SMT visibility, especially at a superintending level; officers and staff clearly welcomed more SMT visibility and support on a day to day basis. The OCU Commander acknowledged this and agreed that this was important in relation to standards of professional practice within the TSG, however he was also cognisant that this was as a result of competing operational demands and workloads of senior managers, not a lack of willingness to be seen by officers and staff.
10. The OCU Commander reviewed the findings and identified an urgent need to create an additional superintendent post in order to improve visibility, performance management and drive forward professional standards across the TSG. The OCU Commander’s growth bid was approved and a Cadre superintendent was recruited who had never previously served on the TSG so this afforded reassurance that the TSG review process would be managed from a completely fresh perspective. That the best applicant was a female officer also had the benefit of improving the diversity mix of the TSG SMT.
11. Over the last year the TSG has seen a continual improvement in professional standards and a significant reduction in the number of complaints received (see recommendation 6 for more detail). The TSG SMT is now also much more visible; this was recently evidenced during the student protests before Christmas when the entire TSG SMT was operationally deployed alongside their officers.
12. The review team were tasked to undertake a review of all TSG base locations to establish whether they were fit for purpose, in terms of geographic location, the service they provided to local boroughs and whether the base had sufficient facilities to meet operational demands and staff requirements. TSG bases are situated across the MPS at Paddington (Central), Finchley (North West), Chadwell Heath (East), Catford (South East) and Clapham (South). The Dedicated CBRN Unit is currently situated in central London within TPHQ, Cannon Row.
13. The review team visited each base, spoke to officers and staff and asked them to complete a brief questionnaire about their base, including their view on its location, facilities, accessibility, parking, the locality to boroughs posted to and whether or not the location is shared with any other MPS departments. Officers and staff were asked to grade their response between 1 and 5, 1 being poor and 5 being excellent.
14. All bases were deemed to be fit for purpose at the current time, in terms of their geographic positioning across the MPS, their location in relation to the Boroughs most frequently served and staff facilities. Most bases are accessible to staff, however one base has limited parking for officers working consistently unsociable hours; this is currently being looked at by the TSG SMT in consultation with CO1 Finance and Resources. Another base is in need of some structural repairs and general updating; this is being managed by the MPS Property Services Department (PSD). The relevant EIA will continually be reviewed and screened with needs identified and action taken.
15. Since the original review was carried out, the MPS has identified the need to reduce costs in relation to buildings and assets; this has resulted in the sale of TPHQ and as a result, the Dedicated CBRN team have to be re-located. This work is currently being managed by PSD, overseen by the TSG SMT.
16. The TSG SMT are aware of plans within Central Operations (CO) to develop the concept of brigading CO departments into deployment bases across the capital and that the TSG are being factored into these plans. When this concept is developed further, it is recommended that there is another review of TSG base locations to ensure that they continue to meet the needs of TSG customers and service users. In addition the EIA and ongoing screening will be reviewed and prior to any changes being implemented a new EIA will be completed.
Potential impact of a reduced Counter Terrorism (CT) budget.
17. In addition to their core roles and responsibilities, the TSG receive additional funding to undertake Counter Terrorism patrols and operations. The CT funds provided pay for an extra 141 TSG officers, who have been allocated across the bases; this provides for a fifth TSG team at each base which allows for greater resilience for individual bases to undertake CT patrols while continuing to meet non - CT operational demands often placed upon them at short notice.
18. The TSG SMT recognise that due to the economic climate and the pressure the MPS is under to reduce spending, the continuation of CT funding cannot be guaranteed. The review team was therefore tasked to identify options available to the SMT to effectively manage the operational impact that any reduction in such funds would bring about.
19. Two main options were identified. Option one - return from five to four teams at each base, or Option two - reduce the number of TSG bases from five to four. Both of these options would result in the reduction of the 141 officers but they would also significantly reduce the TSG’s capability for undertaking CT work. Prior to any changes being implemented an EIA would be completed.
20. The TSG SMT agreed that there are currently too many variables with regards to other cost saving activities underway across the MPS, to make a firm decision at this stage as to which would be the best option in the event of any reduction in the CT budget. The MPS Deployment Base project and plans by PSD to reduce MPS building assets, could both have a future impact on the location of the TSG. This matter has been placed on hold pending an update on the CT budget.
Commissioner’s Reserve (CR) hours of operation.
21. The Commissioner’s Reserve (CR) provides the MPS with a fast time response to critical incidents and public disorder. The CR is made up of Five Police Support Units (PSUs) each with 1 Inspector, 3 Sergeants and 18 constables. The CR work 5 shifts per day between the hours of 8am and 4am.
22. The TSG review looked at whether there was an operational requirement to have the Commissioners Reserve on duty 24 hours a day, thus closing the 4 hour gap where there wasn’t any TSG cover. The review team also looked at whether in the long term this would reduce overtime costs.
23. The review team carried out an operational demand analysis, conducted interviews and circulated questionnaires to customers and service users, which included the Chief Inspector Information Room, Metcall staff, CO Co-ordinating and Tasking Office (CaTO), Public Order and Operational Support Unit (CO11), TP Borough Duty Officers and Specialist Crime Directorate (SCD) departments such as Trident and TP Crime Squads. TSG staff and federation representatives were also consulted.
24. The demand analysis identified that the TSG was not being requested between 4am and 8am because it was known they were not on duty at that time however calls that would benefit from TSG support were occurring during this time frame; in addition 75% of those persons canvassed felt that there was an operational need for the TSG to be available 24 hours a day, in line with other CO Resources and the 24/7 policing dynamics of London. The TSG carry out most of their rapid entries in support of borough and specialist colleagues between 5 am and 6am.
25. In light of the overwhelming response received and comments in questionnaire such as ‘since London is a 24/7 city, you’d expect the TSG to 24/7’, the TSG SMT decided to consult with staff about changing the CR into a full 24/7 response. Initial TSG officer concerns were addressed through a thorough change management process. This detailed change management process went through an EIA screening process.
26. Having gained full Federation support, TSG shift patterns were changed and the TSG Commissioner’s Reserve will become a 24 hours resource for the MPS on the 1st April 2011. It is anticipated that the facility to deploy TSG officers within the new shift patterns will reduce the need for both spontaneous and pre-planned overtime working, resulting in financial savings. This will be reviewed in six months to quantify and assess both the operational and the financial implications of deploying the TSG over a 24 hour period.
Recommendation 2 - TSG commitment to Corporate Tasking and Safer Neighbourhood Policing.
27. The TSG is a pan London unit with a capability to respond immediately to major and critical incidents and public disorder anywhere within the capital; they provide the MPS first line response to CBRN incidents and undertake armed Counter Terrorism (CT) patrols; they are trained in the use of Taser which is carried by the Commissioner’s Reserve; they assist Boroughs in targeting high volume crime and addressing community concerns and they assist specialist OCUs, such as Trident and Crime Squads with affecting house entries, arresting dangerous suspects and undertaking surveillance operations.
28. As shown above the roles and responsibilities of the TSG are many and varied. The aim of the review was to ensure that the TSG had the capacity to maintain this level of commitment and support to its customers across the MPS and to ensure that the tasking process was being managed effectively both within the TSG and through the corporate tasking process.
29. The review team met with TSG Tasking Managers and CO Co-ordinating & Tasking office (CATO) to review the TSG tasking process and identify if changes or improvements needed to be made. This work highlighted challenges relating to TSG shift patterns and their coterminosity with periods of high demand on Boroughs. Although TSG officers adapt flexibly to the needs of Boroughs there are occasions when overtime is required to ensure compliance with regulations at the same time as delivering a high level of service to Boroughs. CO CATO and the TSG SMT have worked together with Boroughs to address these areas of concern and continue to monitor it closely.
30. The review team also looked at the TSG commitment to Safer Neighbourhood policing. Every TSG unit is committed to working alongside a Borough Safer Neighbourhood Team for three days, every five weeks; TSG officers enjoy getting the opportunity to do work within the community at this very local level as it allows them to develop different skills and undertake tasks they do not ordinarily get to experience during their normal day to day duties. The review identified that there are times when the TSG are unable to fulfil their SNT commitment; this is predominantly during periods of heavy public order aid demand. The review team were unable to come up with a solution to this that did not impact adversely on some other core area of TSG business. It was therefore agreed by the TSG SMT that the SNT commitment would remain as it is and that the TSG would fulfil this commitment to the best of their ability; great emphasis was placed on the need to improve the level of dialogue between TSG and Boroughs in order to manage realistic expectations on both sides. This will be improved in the future through the development of the TSG Communication Strategies (see recommendation 7). In addition, all TSG officers from constable to chief inspector have been given PDR objectives specifically relating to neighbourhood policing.
31. The review team concluded that with improvements shown above and with strong SMT management and support, the TSG are able to continue providing the same level of service and commitment to both Corporate and SNT taskings and that this should continue as the TSG core business up until the Olympics in 2012. Post 2012, the roles and the responsibilities of the TSG may need to be reviewed, if there are any plans to significantly change to the makeup of the MPS. These review findings were agreed by TSG SMT and CO CATO and are now in place.
32. In addition to reviewing TSG commitment to Corporate and SNT taskings, the review team also looked at TSG tactical options and performance measures to ensure that they were fit for purpose.
Recommendation 3 - Review TSG Skills in particular with regards to Surveillance and increased Firearms capability.
33. The OCU Commander was keen for the TSG review to take a fresh look at developmental opportunities for TSG officers, with particular focus on any skills gaps across the MPS which if appropriately trained, TSG officers could be used to fill. The SMT supported this view and felt it would enhance and improve the TSG image and reputation post G20, and demonstrate the value of the TSG to the MPS more broadly than simply in relation to public order.
34. The initial review process identified two main areas where TSG skills and experience could be used to benefit and enhance service delivery across the MPS, those being surveillance operations and firearms deployments.
35. Following an increase in burglaries across the MPS, the Deputy Commissioner asked for research to be carried out to look at the capacity of MPS surveillance teams; this research identified a skills gap in low level surveillance work which covert units within the Specialist Crime Directorate (SCD) were unable to take on, due to their already heavy workload.
36. The TSG were identified as the only unit outside SCD that had any previous experience of doing surveillance work. The TSG SMT recognised that not only was this a good opportunity to assist the MPS in reducing volume crime - particularly burglaries - but it was also a development opportunity for TSG officers. Longer term the TSG SMT felt that this would assist the OCU in terms of diversifying the role of TSG officers and further professionalising their skills. With the support of MPS Management Board and Performance Board and the agreement of senior managers within CO and SCD, funding and training was provided and a TSG surveillance team (1 sergeant and 9 constables) was created in June 2010, working fully to SCD11 corporate surveillance policy and procedures. Performance Board has noted the considerable contribution made to reducing volume crime by the application of the TSG surveillance capability. Examples include a significant operation in December 2010, when the TSG surveillance team was deployed in a TP cross-border operation lead by Greenwich borough targeting a team of artifice burglars who were preying on vulnerable elderly people across London. All other means to identify and apprehend the offenders had been tried and failed. The TSG surveillance team was tasked to follow the suspects and build an intelligence picture. The suspects were extremely hard to follow, and deployed very effective anti-surveillance techniques. Nonetheless, the TSG surveillance team successfully followed them on several occasions and was able to provide lifestyle on the suspects. Most significantly, on one occasion the TSG surveillance team captured the suspects on video forensically cleaning their fingerprints having just committed an offence. Two men were arrested for artifice burglary and due to the video evidence provided by the TSG, both pleaded guilty to the offences. In February 2011 the men received custodial sentences of six and eight years at Woolwich Crown Court.
37. TSG 1, based at Paddington Police Station is the only TSG base to have a firearms capability; there are currently 50 Authorised Firearms Officers (AFOs) attached to their base strength. Historically this came about in support of the security arrangements for Paddington Green Police Station which is used to house high security and / or terrorist related prisoners. In more recent years, these officers have additionally been used in support of armed Counter Terrorism Patrols across London.
38. With the Olympics on the way and with increased concern around the world about increased terrorist activity following the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, the MPS undertook a review of its Firearms assets. A decision was subsequently made at Management Board level to increase and improve London’s Strategic Firearms capability.
39. Currently London’s Strategic Firearms Reserve capability is made up of over 200 AFOs who are spread far and wide across the MPS; many of these officers are attached to Boroughs working on response teams.
40. Following discussions between senior managers within CO it was agreed that the TSG were best placed to take on responsibility for being London’s Strategic Firearms Reserve, due to number of officers available, their skills set and the fact that they will be on duty 24 Hours a day. The use of the TSG for this purpose has the additional benefit of releasing borough officers from this responsibility, reducing the potential for abstractions from borough policing.
41. At the end of 2010, Management Board approved the TSG becoming London’s Strategic Firearms Reserve and agreed that an extra 150 TSG Officers would be trained to become Authorised Firearms Officers.
42. The TSG SMT has introduced a selection process in order to identify officers who possess relevant skills and ability to become trained in the use of firearms. The first TSG firearms course takes place in March 2011 and plans are in place to ensure that all 150 TSG officers will be fully trained ahead of the 2012 Olympic period. Post Olympics Borough AFOs will cease to exist and the TSG will become London’s Strategic Firearms Reserve. Once again, this will remove a burden from TP borough officers and reduce potential abstractions from borough policing. This is EIA screened, based on lessons learnt and good practice identified by CO19.
Recommendation 4 - Ensure the TSG is operationally prepared for the 2012 Olympics.
43. The TSG SMT acknowledged early on that due to the variety and scale of work undertaken by the TSG, there were likely to be significant demands placed on their officers and staff in the lead up to and during the period of the Olympics’. As clarity of roles and responsibilities develop TSG SMT will ensure EIA screening occurs.
44. The TSG is the MPS Pan - London capability for responding to major and critical incidents anywhere in the capital. Core roles and responsibilities of the TSG on a daily basis also include the provision of five Commissioner Reserve teams, support to Boroughs in the form of Crime Postings, Borough Reserves and Safer Neighbourhood policing, in addition to surveillance operations and CT patrols with armed assets. It was imperative therefore to establish how the TSG could provide a full commitment to the policing plan in place for the Olympics. This has been partially resolved. The TSG are going to be taking on a pan London Reserves function on a 24 hours basis during the Olympics period; they will not be expected to deliver their other core functions. This will be clearly communicated to Boroughs and specialist units in order to manage their expectations during this period. There is still some work ongoing to determine how officers within the TSG with specialist skills will be utilised. The TSG SMT is currently fully engaged with the Olympic Resource Planning team with regards to developing this work further.
45. Recruitment and retention processes and the delivery of training over the next 12 months are key to ensuring that the TSG have staff in place who are fully competent operationally for the challenge ahead. Tenure is a significant issue, because of the very significant training and equipment investment in developing TSG officers to deliver the highest specialist level of public order policing (level 1), the operational competence which is achieved through exposure to public order events, the need to retain vital public order skills for policing the Olympics, and the need to avoid any mass loss of skills from the TSG post-Olympics. The TSG SMT and the Central Operations Command Team is in the process of reviewing these issues.
46. The TSG has been selected to become the MPS Strategic Firearms Reserve, as shown above in recommendation 5. It is not known at this stage how many TSG AFOs will be required for the Olympics Plan but plans are in place to ensure the additional 150 officers will be fully trained in advance of the Olympic period and ready for operational deployment.
47. Recruitment and selection processes will continue throughout the year ahead, to ensure staffing levels at all ranks are up to strength. The SMT are aware that staff moves into and out of the TSG when the MPS is ‘locked down’ to prevent skills loss in the lead up to the Olympics.
Recommendation 5 - Review TSG Finance processes to ensure corporacy across all bases and quality assurance processes are implemented.
48. At the end of 2009 an MPA audit was carried out to look at the financial systems and processes in place within the TSG. The audit identified several areas for improvement and standardisation of practices across the bases and these were factored into the TSG Review process for implementation.
49. Amongst the recommendations made by the MPA was a need to introduce one corporate system across all TSG bases to monitor TSG budget spends and to have to have a single way of recording duties. The review also identified the need to provide some financial awareness training for base Chief Inspectors; which had not previously been provided and the need to implement a regular financial Quality Assurance process.
50. Each base had their finance management processes reviewed and areas of good practice identified at two of the bases have since been used to form the basis of the TSG corporate overtime spend sheet; this sheet is now in use at all bases. The TSG Monthly Management Report has been amended to reflect changes to the financial management processes and all TSG Chief Inspectors and base managers have now received financial awareness training.
51. The majority of the MPA audit recommendations have now been implemented and each base has been subject to a Quality Assurance visit to ensure compliance with TSG finance management directives. TSG Finance processes are subject to regular review by the TSG SMT and through QA processes.
Recommendation 6 - Review TSG Complaints processes to ensure effective management processes are in place and compliance with MPS complaints procedures and policies. Improve overall professional standards.
52. Historically the TSG have attracted a large number of complaints against police from members of the public. This was always attributed to the fact that the TSG are the officers who conduct the most stop and searches, they are the officers who usually respond to incidents of violence and police large public order events. The areas of London that they are tasked to work are the most challenging in the MPS. The type of activity they undertake is targeted at the most difficult individuals or groups of individuals (gangs and seasoned criminals). In public order situations, the TSG are deployed at high level points of conflict due to their public order skills. They are deployed as a team, in carriers, containing eight people. There are instances of “carrier” complaints where officers who are simply on board the transport are subject to complaints. This multiplies the numbers by a factor of eight compared to borough colleagues who patrol singly or in pairs.
54. The TSG SMT have refused to accept that high levels of complaints against the TSG could ever be deemed to be acceptable, regardless of the cause, and since 2009, they have worked tirelessly to reduce the number of public complaints against TSG officers with a view to improving overall professional standards whilst maintaining the high work rate of TSG officers.
55. The TSG review looked at processes in place within the TSG to manage complaints to ensure that they were compliant with Directorate of Professional Standards (DPS) policies and procedures and to ensure resilience around complaint handling.
56. The review identified that there has been a significant amount of time and effort invested into improving complaints management within the TSG. The TSG has developed a robust Complaints Intervention Scheme (CIS), which officers become subject to, if within a rolling 12 month period they attract 3 complaints, and which involves escalating interviews, developing action plans for individual officers and tasking robust management action. The CIS now forms part of the monthly performance meeting management meeting with base Chief Inspectors. The TSG currently has 26 officers on the CIS which is a 52.7% reduction on the same period last year when there were 55 TSG officers on the CIS. Some key success factors have been, robust leadership, visibility, consistency and engagement of staff by TSG SMT; empowerment of supervisors; intrusive pre, during and post incident management; Training; DPS liaison and attachment for worst offenders.
57. In addition to the implementation of the CIS, the TSG has worked very closely with the DPS Prevention and Reduction Team (PaRT) to proactively target poor standards of professional practice through interactive presentations and awareness training as part of their Professional Standards Support Programme (PSSP); this training focuses on how officers’ actions impact on others and for supervisors, what they need to do in terms of addressing unsatisfactory behaviour. TSG officers have taken part in three separate PSSP cycles and as a result the TSG has seen a significant reduction in public complaints.
58. Total officer complaint allegations for the TSG for the rolling 12 month period of February 2010 to January 2011 have decreased by 36.9% from 1289 to 814 in comparison to the previous 12 month period.
59. Failure in duty complaints against the TSG in the 12 month period from February 2010 to January 2011 have decreased by 34.6%. The rate of officer allegations per 100 officers for failure in duty has decreased from 42 to 27.
60. The rate of officer allegations per 100 officers for incivility complaints has decreased from 26 to 16.
61. As a result of the TSG success in reducing incivility complaints, a TSG Superintendent is now leading on delivering an action plan to reduce Incivility across the MPS; this work is on behalf of the MPS Professional Standards Strategic Committee. TSG complaint management processes are now being promoted as good practice across the MPS and help and advice is being provided to Boroughs in an attempt to assist them in achieving similar results in their incivility complaints.
62. The TSG SMT has introduced changes to TSG recruitment and retention processes; this is with a view to improving the calibre of officers being recruited onto the TSG and raising professional standards. Officers applying to join the TSG are subject to a stringent professional standards history check, with a particular focus on dishonesty-related matters, which is overseen by the OCU Commander. If there is any trend or incompatible behaviour identified within an officer’s complaint record, e.g. excessive use of force, this is also referred to the OCU Commander for a decision to be made in terms of their suitability. Similarly if an officer already serving on the TSG receives a finding of guilt for a dishonesty-related matter, they will have lost the confidence of the OCU Commander on their suitability to serve in the TSG role.
63. The review team found the TSG Complaint Management System to be an extremely robust system which was evidently working well to address poor standards of professional practice and reduce complaints within the TSG. They found the system to be fully compliant with MPS policies surrounding the management of Professional Standards, complaints and discipline. The only observation the review team had was the level of resilience in place to manage this system within such a large OCU; the team recommended the creation of another police officer post to provide for a TSG Professional Standards Team. The TSG SMT reviewed these findings and agreed to increase staffing levels within the Professional Standards team by one officer. A Sergeant has since been recruited onto the TSG Professional Standards team, providing more resilience around TSG complaint management systems.
64. The TSG SMT continue to closely monitor TSG complaints working closely with the DPS to quickly address any areas of concern that are brought to their attention.
Recommendation 7 – Develop TSG Communication Strategies and processes in order to improve both internal and external communication and raise awareness and perception of the TSG.
65. Internal and external communication processes were flagged up as being of particular area of concern amongst TSG staff and SMT during this review process.
66. Concerns cited by TSG officers included a perception that senior managers across the MPS were not fully conversant with the full roles and responsibilities of the TSG and the significant contribution the TSG makes to achieving the MPS objectives of safety and confidence across London. That the TSG SMT were not keeping staff informed about what was going on and decisions made; that positive messages about the TSG and the promotion of good work was being overlooked and that the TSG Intranet site was out dated and lacked information. The TSG SMT felt that separate working practices across the bases did little to aid communication, confused messages and could fuel rumour and speculation. It was agreed by the SMT that in order to improve communication across the TSG then there needed to be some investment in a Communications Officer post, whose primary focus would be on improving communication processes in order to raise awareness of and improve people’s understanding of the TSG’s roles, responsibilities and achievements.
67. On joining the TSG, the new Superintendent became the Communications lead and immediately started work to improve communication flow by developing internal and external Communication Strategies; these strategies underpin all communications processes within the TSG and will be further developed to enhance communication process across the MPS and externally with partner agencies and communities.
68. Identifying the need in the first instance to improve internal communication processes within the TSG, the Superintendent set up a TSG Communications Team; this team consists of a police officer or police staff representative from each TSG base, the SHRA, an SMT member, the DPA, HQ staff, Federation and PCS representatives. The Superintendent chairs a monthly meeting with this team which is used as a forum to provide staff with regular SMT updates, find out what work is being undertaken by each of the bases, promote areas of good practice, highlight good work. These meetings are held at a different base each month to increase SMT visibility. Following on from this meeting, the base representatives hold a local base meeting where this information is passed on further. They are also responsible for managing internal communications processes and liaising locally with the DPA.
69. In support of the SMT Communications lead, a post was created for a Communications Officer to work alongside the Superintendent in developing the work strands shown within the TSG Communications Strategies. Having just updated the TSG Intranet site and developed a weekly e-mail circular promoting good work, the Communications Officer is now developing an internal TSG Newsletter, which will be circulated across all TSG bases informing them of all developments within the TSG.
70. Longer term, the Communication SMT lead and the Communications Officer are starting to develop the external communications strategy, working with partners and local communities in order to raise awareness and improve people’s perception of the TSG. This work has commenced with the delivery of a presentation called ‘The Situation Has Changed’ and will continue to develop through the creation of a Public Order Community Reference Group (see recommendation 9). This has been presented to community bodies such as the MPS Central IAG, to a forum of protest groups and local community bodies and to Liberty, and the presentation continues to be rolled out. The intention is to improve community understanding of TSG roles and responsibilities and to use community feedback to continue to develop TSG professionalism; the impact so far has been very positive and is being continually monitored.
Recommendation 8 – Review and update TSG Career Management policy and improve TSG recruitment processes.
71. In light of the current changes to MPS HR processes and procedures, the TSG SMT recognised the need to review the TSG Career Management policy to ensure that it is fit for purpose and continues to meet the needs of the OCU and its staff.
72. The TSG SMT recognises the need to achieve a balance between attracting new officers into TSG and maximising the investment made in officers already serving on the TSG. The SMT were keen to promote a Career Management policy which would give staff confidence that their HR processes are fair and takes individual development needs into account.
73. In January 2011, the revised TSG Career Management policy was implemented. Clearly outlined within this policy is the overall policy principle with regards to promoting equal opportunities and fairness; this policy also defines statement of expectations and tenure periods for certain posts, internal career development and transferring out of the TSG. This policy is available on the TSG Intranet site for the information of all TSG staff and MPS officers and staff that may be looking to join the TSG in the future. Throughout its review and implementation, equalities considerations were at the forefront, with the Strategic HR Advisor for TSG consulting with staff, officers, federation and unions in addition to TSG SMT. The TSG SMT will undertake a regular review of this policy.
74. Due to the heightened level of interest about professional standards amongst TSG officers post G20, the OCU Commander was keen to review the TSG recruitment process to ensure that only those officers with the highest standards of professionalism, integrity and proven policing skills are recruited onto the TSG. The SMT must have confidence in their staff’s ability to act with professionalism at all times, whilst undertaking such a demanding and challenging role.
75. As highlighted above, the TSG SMT strength has been increased to improve visibility and resilience surrounding performance management; the TSG SMT ensure that they lead by example and set clear standards for their officers and staff to follow.
76. As a result of the review work has been undertaken to introduce more robust and challenging recruitment processes for selecting TSG officers. The recruitment process starts with a very robust look at the application form. As well as looking at the officer’s overall ability, the recruitment team review the officer’s complaint record since joining the MPS. The SMT have provided clear guidelines that those officers with a significant amount of complaints or a certain type of complaint, such as those relating to honesty and integrity, will not progress past the application stage. Applicants who are unsuccessful at this point do have a right to appeal to the OCU Commander.
77. Once through the initial application stage applicants can expect a more challenging selection process. Over the last year the recruitment team have significantly developed the Sergeants and Inspectors selection process. These processes are now designed to test managers’ skills at many levels, in particular the strength of their leadership and their ability to challenge poor performance and discipline issues robustly and successfully. The TSG recruitment team trialled the Inspectors selection process last summer and sought feedback from all concerned, including the Inspectors subject to the process. The Inspectors found the process to be fair but extremely challenging; their skills were well tested through a range of exercises over a protracted period of time, which the candidates agreed was necessary in order to identify a range of good leadership skills. Four very strong Inspectors were selected from this new selection process and their feedback used to make minor alterations to the Inspectors process, which has since been fully implemented.
78. The TSG recruitment team are now developing a Sergeants process, using the same principles; it will be tested during the next Sergeant recruitment process. The recruitment team are also working to improve the constable selection process but due to the numbers concerned this process will not be as lengthy; regardless of this the SMT are confident that it will again be a suitably robust process aimed at attracting the right people into the TSG.
79. Alongside the work being undertaken to improve the standing of the TSG, there is also much work underway in terms of promoting the TSG as a good career prospect through effective communication strategies and mentoring. Work through diversity forums is being developed by the SHRA and TSG SMT with a view to ensuring that the TSG becomes more representative of the communities it serves. This work is ongoing.
Recommendation 9 – Develop a TSG Community Engagement Strategy and look at developing a Public Order Community Reference Group to improve community links across the MPS and to raise awareness in public order policing.
80. The TSG already does a lot of work to emphasise the positive impact that their core policing activities have in terms of keeping communities across London safe. Each TSG team is assigned to a Borough SNT and provides a level of commitment in terms of dealing with community issues; each base undertakes schools visits and provides presentations and facilitates discussion on topics such in the dangers of getting involved in knife crime and concerns over stop and search. Many TSG officers are actively engaged in promoting and facilitating youth diversionary and sporting activities within the local communities such as rowing, boxing, football, rugby and Growing against Gangs, as reported in detail to the Authorities Strategic and Operational Committee on the 11th November 2010 in the Central Operations Thematic Report.
81. The TSG Review identified that the TSG is not as effective as it could be at publicising and promoting the good work that’s being undertaken to improve links with local communities. The work that is now being undertaken by the TSG to improve communication links internally and externally will raise awareness that while the TSG provides public order policing specialist officers trained to the highest levels, it also provides many other forms of support to boroughs and OCUs.
82. G20 and the significant amount of interest this generated in the TSG highlighted the fact that the public does not fully understand the wider aspects of the roles and responsibilities of the TSG. Many people are not aware that only a small percentage of their time is spent dealing with public order policing.
83. The ‘Situation Has Changed’ is an interactive Public Order presentation that has since been developed jointly by the TSG and the Public Order and Operational Support Unit. This presentation is opened by a member of the TSG SMT and seeks to give members of the public an insight into how police plan and deliver a public order policing operation by putting them in the role of the police public order commander and decision maker. As the scenario unfolds, they are asked to make various decisions, some of them quick time, under pressure and are then asked account for their decision. They also get an opportunity to experience what it is like to wear public order uniform and experience how officers feel, being deployed in this kit for any length of time. This presentation has been delivered to the MPS Central IAG, protest groups, including liberty and various community groups and to date, has received some very favourable feedback. The Situation Has Changed presentation is now an integral part of the TSG’s Communication Strategy in order to raise awareness about public order policing and the various roles and responsibilities undertaken by the TSG.
84. The above presentation has made a significant start in terms of raising awareness within certain communities, however the TSG SMT is mindful that there needs to be a longer term Community Engagement Strategy in place, in order to build links and develop a level of trust and understanding within communities across the MPS. This work is now in hand.
85. The TSG SMT recognised the need to set up a pan London community forum and has sought assistance and guidance from the Firearms OCU CO19, who already have such a group in place. With additional help and advice from the Diversity and Citizen Focus Directorate (DCFD), the TSG SMT have now set up a working group and jointly with CO11 Public Order and Operational Support, are now actively developing a pan London Public Order Community Reference Group. This group will act as a critical consultative body that can advise and engage with the SMT on TSG and Public Order matters across the MPS. This work is ongoing but the TSG SMT hope to have a Public Order Community Reference Group in place by summer 2011, representative of a broad range of diverse communities.
Recommendation 10 – Review and improve diversity awareness within the TSG.
86. The TSG is working towards the Equality Standard for the police service; as part of this work, the TSG have created an Equality and Diversity Action Plan which details actions to be undertaken to improve TSG performance within this area. The SMT are responsible for ensuring that this work is undertaken, with each Chief Inspector overseeing processes at their base to ensure compliance.
87. The TSG review identified that a great deal of work was already underway to improve equalities and diversity awareness within the TSG, especially in terms of recruitment, training, mentoring and career management. One area that the SMT agrees needs to be looked at is the development of staff support groups and forums; these do exist at some bases but not others. Work is currently ongoing in this area. An audit of TSG activities was carried out when gathering evidence for the Equalities Standard for Policing. The TSG at a baseline stage scored 100%.
88. The TSG makes a very valuable contribution to increasing the safety and confidence of the public across London, most significantly in those boroughs which face particular challenges in reducing violent and volume crime. Some 85% of the time of the TSG is tasked to providing direct support to boroughs in meeting their local policing challenges, with the much smaller balance seeing the TSG tasked in their specialist public order role.
89. The TSG has made excellent progress over the last 12 -18 months in terms of increasing professionalism, extending skills in support of MPS priorities, proactively taking steps to reduce their level of complaints significantly and improving links with local communities. The TSG SMT recognises, however, that there is no room for complacency. The TSG SMT is committed to maintaining and improving upon these successes through greater SMT visibility and robust TSG performance management processes to ensure that the TSG continues to deliver a professional and first rate service to the MPS and to communities across London. The implementation of the TSG Review recommendations is being overseen by a TSG superintendent, adopting a change management approach. There is a detailed audit trail, with actions and results, this is reviewed at the change meetings and overseen by the OCU Commander at the TSG SMT meetings and updates through Commander Public Order Policing to the Assistant Commissioner Central Operations.
C. Other organisational and community implications
Equality and Diversity Impact
1. The equality and diversity impact of the TSG Review is addressed in the body of this report.
2. The TSG has an Equalities and Diversity Action Plan in place which drives performance activities within the OCU, in terms of making improvements to areas of equality and diversity.
3. The TSG continues to monitor progress in achieving a more representative workforce profile through a regular review of OCU Equality Action Plans.
4. The TSG continues to monitor progress in achieving a more representative workforce profile through regular review of OCU Equality Development Action Plans. The current percentage of female police officers within the TSG is 11.02% (81 officers). The current percentage of black and minority ethnic (BME) police officers within the TSG is 7.0% (52 officers). The vast majority of BME police officers within CO are from the TSG. The ongoing EIA screening and EIA completion will consider this, ensuring staff are trained and complete EIA’s in the areas discussed.
Consideration of MET Forward
The work of the TSG directly supports the MPA’s Met Forward plan with regards to fighting crime and reducing criminality, increasing public confidence in policing and achieving value for money. The TSG SMT will continue to ensure that the TSG are effectively tasked to continue in supporting these objectives.
6. CO Accountants have asked that this information not be included in this report at the current time; CO budgets are still being set and therefore are subject to change. However it is worthy of note that the TSG have managed to deliver all of the recommendations with existing resources and at no additional cost to the budget.
This report is presented for information only, therefore there are no direct legal implications arising. The Strategic and Operational Policing Committee is responsible for strategic planning, risk and operational performance and cross cutting issues. Members of this committee may therefore receive the report and make any comments.
8. There are no environmental risks identified at this time.
Risk (including Health and Safety) Implications
9. The risk implications of the TSG review are addressed in the body of this report.
D. Background papers
10. Appendix One – TSG Internal Communications Strategy.
11. Appendix Two – TSG External Communications Strategy.
D. Contact details
Report author: Superintendent Elaine Van-Orden, TSG
For information contact:
MPA general: 020 7202 0202
Media enquiries: 020 7202 0217/18
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