Belfast Telegraph

Police failed to meet 23% of performance targets set last year, report shows

Police failed to meet almost a quarter of performance targets set last year by the Policing Board, an Audit Office report has found.

It said too many targets had been set and suggested a reduction would improve performance.

The report criticised the PSNI and Policing Board for failing to show a "positive attitude" towards delivering improvement.

Publishing his latest report on performance targets, auditor general Kieran Donnelly said: "Long-standing issues remain around the need for shared leadership between the Policing Board and the PSNI and the need for effective programme and project management arrangements to drive continuous improvement."

The Policing Board's business plan for 2015/16 included 48 targets for the PSNI.

Overall, 77% had been fully achieved, but 23% had been partially achieved or not achieved at all.

The report said the recent audit had "once again identified many of the issues raised in previous years".

It added: "The continuing failure to address previous years' recommendations is not indicative of a positive attitude towards delivering improvement.

"It is essential that the board and the PSNI now address long-standing issues around their shared leadership and management of continuous improvement."

A recommendation was made in 2016 by the auditor general to reduce the number of performance indicators to focus on the most important aspects of policing performance.

The report found that while there had been some progress, there remained scope for further reductions.

It also said that previous reports identified "slippage" in the delivery of continuous improvement projects and "this issue persists".

Deputy Chief Constable Drew Harris said they and the Policing Board were progressing each of the five recommendations.

"We also welcome the Comptroller and Auditor General's comments on the suggested review of legislation governing continuous improvement so that the Police Service of Northern Ireland can continue to drive the best outcome from limited resources.

"We will continue to work with the Northern Ireland Policing Board to fully implement the recommendations made within the report."

A spokeswoman for the Policing Board welcomed the report's publication.

"The Board and the PSNI have devoted significant time and energy to addressing recommendations from the NIAO, and as such it is disappointing that some of these efforts have not fully achieved the required NIAO outcome," she added.

"It is welcome that the NIAO has acknowledged the need for the Department of Justice to review the current legislative provision governing continuous improvement as the landscape has changed significantly since these provisions were introduced.

"The Board remains committed to ensuring that the Audit recommendations are implemented in full."

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