Improving Availability and Service in Crimestoppers

Improving Availability and Service in Crimestoppers 

Crimestoppers is a registered charity set up to assist the fight against crime. It
operates through a number of Area Boards and provides an opportunity for the
general public to give information anonymously about crimes. Funding
obtained from charitable appeals, trusts, business donations as well as Police
and Home Office grants is used to publicise and fund a freephone number and
rewards.

Lack of service coverage restricting development

 Crimestoppers had developed rapidly, becoming a critical channel for
intelligence gathering about crimes. A network of 29 individual operations
centres based in Police forces throughout the country received calls from the
public during normal working hours.
As the service became increasingly successful, lack of 24x7 coverage,
inconsistencies in call handling and technological constraints were preventing
the Trust from realising its full potential for crime resolution. Tefen Management
Consultancy was invited to review the situation and work with stakeholders to
recommend a new call handling strategy suited to the unique requirements of
the Trust's operations.

A clear case for change

Our work started by understanding the Trust's role, its relationship with Police forces and the nature of its call handling operations.
Various operations centres were visited, call patterns analysed and existing processes reviewed and costed.
The review confirmed the case for change and the potential benefits to society from extending and improving the service. 
The more pressing question was how to improve consistency and access without damaging hard-won relationships with local Police forces.
Furthermore, consensus on the most appropriate strategy would need
to be achieved across a large number of stakeholders, including Police, Home Office and Area Boards.

Achieving consensus

Working closely with the Crimestoppers Executive the feasibility, costs and benefits of alternative plans were considered and evaluated. 
A development path was produced that enabled call handling capacity and coverage to be extended while allowing flexibility on how far and how fast to proceed. 

Workshops were then facilitated to examine the options in the context of the rimestoppers overall mission and unique operating environment. 
As a result, the decision was taken to introduce a centralised call handling facility to provide out-ofhours coverage, receive mobile phone calls and handle peak time overspill calls. 
The new strategy also provides for further centralisation and standardisation of call handling as the service grows and develops. 

Analysis and research was then undertaken to determine the best way of funding and managing the new facility. 
As the existing operations centres are provided and partly funded by 29 different Police forces, these decisions are relatively complex. 
Work to implement the new strategy is continuing subject to initial Home Office funding.

Business benefits

  • Operational performance- by providing cost effective 24/7 coverage the new strategy will help increase call volumes and help to solve more crimes.
  • Service consistency- by consolidating call handling the Trust will achieve more consistency in the way that calls are received and intelligence passed on.
  • Process efficiency- rationalisation of peak and out-of-hours call handling provides an efficient way to maximise service potential.
  • Reduced risk- by taking a phased approach to rationalisation valuable local relationships with Police forces will be preserved.
  • Change management- our work to engage multiple stakeholders helped secure quick and sustainable agreement on the best way forward.