PSNI met less than half of last year's Policing Plan targets, report reveals
The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) failed to meet half the targets set out in last year's Policing Plan, according to a new report.
Of the 50 objectives focused on four main areas just 24 were achieved, the Audit Office has said.
A partial approach to reporting the findings was also adopted by the PSNI and its oversight body, the Policing Board, it has been claimed.
Kieran Donnelly, the Comptroller and Auditor General, said: "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."
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.
The report, which has been presented to the Northern Ireland Assembly, said: "PSNI has therefore achieved less than half of the performance measures set for 2014-15.
"In contrast to last year, the (Policing) Board's annual report included only high level information relating to both its own performance and the PSNI's performance for 2014-15.
"PSNI's overall performance against the 50 performance measures set out within the Policing Plan was not presented; rather the summary included only performance against 16 quantitative measures.
"PSNI's annual report, although containing more detail than that of the Board, did not summarise the overall performance against all measures set in the Policing Plan."
The auditor was reviewing the systems underpinning the Policing Plan and performance summary.
It was not an audit of PSNI's performance.
Recommendations include setting fewer but more meaningful targets.
"The Board and the PSNI should report on all performance measures set out in the Policing Plan," the report said.
"The Board and PSNI should reduce the overall number of performance indicators and measures in future Policing Plans, focusing on key aspects of policing performance in line with the Board's and the PSNI's strategic priorities."