Neighbourhood Policing—Measuring Police Performance (Details)

Name of province/ territory:


City/ Region:


Description of Initiative:

Our performance management project began in November 2007 with the introduction of our project team. Since then we have been working closely with our performance management coach and consultant Mr. Peter Bellmio.

The Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS) Neighbourhood Policing model calls for the design of equitable police patrol zones based on calls for service from our community. It requires frontline patrol officers to be deployed at the right places and in the right numbers based on peak times of service demands. Assigning officers to specific geographic areas creates ownership of problems, improves police visibility, increases officer job satisfaction and provides a neighbourhood-based level of policing that encourages problem solving and community partnerships. It requires the WRPS to be able to measure the needs of our community at regular intervals to more quickly and effectively respond to growth and changing needs, to measure the results of our efforts and adjust accordingly, ensuring that we are being as efficient as possible. Through Neighbourhood Policing we will be able to report to our community the results of our actions and the return on their investment in us.

Measuring patrol performance requires the WRPS to quantify the demands of our community on our frontline patrol officers, to measure the current level of service we are providing to our community and deliver changes necessary to meet improved performance goals. Using modeling software called Managing Patrol Performance (MPP), the following factors are continually measured, tracked and reported:

  • the rate of citizen-generated calls for service;
  • the percentage of calls by priority type;
  • the number of patrol units dispatched to citizen-generated calls for service;
  • the average service time for each responding patrol officer;
  • the variation in travel time by priority type;
  • the time spent on non-call-related duties (administrative duties);
  • the area covered by patrol; and
  • the number of actual patrol units on duty and available to respond to the needs of our community.

The relief team also enhances safety for police officers by ensuring that each detachment has two police officers on duty at all times.

The first 18 months of our project were dedicated to building organizational capacity surrounding data quality, completeness and integrity. We were required to implement new reporting criteria to ensure we were capturing the requisite data elements. By mid-2009 our data was sufficient to power the MPP software. We continue to address data quality, completeness and integrity across our service.

In 2010 we added a research analyst programmer to our team and since that time have developed a host of tools that allow us to identify when and where we are deploying our staff, the services they are delivering, the results of that service delivery and the impacts of that delivery on crime and public disorder within our community. We have also created capacity for predictive analytics and forecasting based on previous experiences.

Throughout 2010 we conducted comprehensive analyses and began reporting our MPP extracts quarterly. Our primary focus was centered on creating equitable and balanced patrol zones and divisions. The results of those efforts were realized in January 2011 with the implementation of entirely new patrol zones and divisional boundaries and the introduction of team policing.

Changes in practice that will result in more efficient service delivery were identified and recommended based on an enhanced differential police response model, a centralized breath testing (impaired driving) services model, hospital wait times and vehicle refueling needs.

Our MPP analyses also revealed and quantified significant issues with our (then) patrol staffing practices which necessitated a redistribution of 50 officers to bolster our patrol numbers.

Throughout 2011 we worked to create a patrol shift schedule that would match staffing with workload requirements by hour of day and day of week.

In 2012 we began to analyze our criminal investigations divisions, again with the ultimate goal of finding efficiencies in officer deployment and assignments.

As you will appreciate, we have volumes of information as a result of our experiences. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.

Initiative Key Objectives:

The Neighbourhood Policing model has several objectives:

  • identify areas of policing that are our biggest demand and work toward reducing those demands on policing through more efficient provision or alternate provision of services;
  • maximize the deployment of officers according to the demands for policing services from the community, by day of week, hour of day and location;
  • increase officer’s available time to put directed response toward proactive police initiatives such as crime prevention, while reducing administrative time through identified efficiencies;
  • identify aternate service agencies that can assist and are better suited to handle certain calls for service, such as mental health professionals;
  • improve our response times to priority calls;
  • provide and manage equalized policing throughout the community;
  • reduce hospital wait times;
  • provide a data-driven police response to community issues; and
  • increase officer availability within their respective zones.

Section Responsible for Implementation:

Executive Office—Research and Planning Branch

Key Contact:

Kevin Thaler

Groups/ Agencies/ Key Partners Involved:

  • private agencies/corporations
  • civilian governing authorities
  • police association or union
  • community groups

Level of Involvement (consultative - information sharing) and/or cooperative - direct involvement):

  • consultant—Mr. Peter Bellmio;
  • Police Services Board—fully apprised and authorized the initiative, they get regular updates on progress;
  • Regional Municipality and City Councils—all get updated on the results of the analysis for budget purposes and police deployment knowledge;
  • Police Association—selected members to form a committee on shift schedules and fully support a new shift schedule trial that equates to a “virtual” 40-personnel increase without hiring any new members or transfers; and
  • Grand River Hospital—partnered to decrease hospital wait times based on our statistical analysis.

Amount of Time Initiative has been in Place:

Preliminary startup in 2008. Actual deployment that began showing efficiency results commenced in January 2011. Initiative is presently expanding to plainclothes officers’ duties.

Reason for Undertaking the Initiative:

Fiscal concerns and a need to provide a measureable result of policing costs to the community.

Resources Required to Implement this Initiative:

The consultant has an annual fee of approximately $25,000. Our MPP (lite) software and five licences were inclusive of the consultant’s fee. In addition, the consultant is paid $30,000 per year. There is no separate costing for MPP (lite). We have since transitioned to MPP (heavy) software and unlimited licences at a cost of $20,000. Our analyst is in a pay grade of $54,000-65,000 per year. We spent $6,000 on a computer and $2,300 on training.

Method of Implementation:

The majority of the project has been phased in over time. The new shift schedule is a pilot project that is subject to a vote at the end of a two-year trial.

Key Outcomes of the Initiative:

Key outcomes to date:

  • Proactive patrol time has increased slightly after a three-year decline prior to implementation.
  • Emergency response times have become quicker by a 30-second range depending on time of day and day of week.
  • Hospital wait times are starting to see a decline due to a recently agreed upon arrangement.
  • The centralized breath techician program reduced the number of technicians across the region, placing less demands and costs for training and recertification.
  • The service has been able to clearly articulate the “state of policing” within Waterloo Region by using the data that is continuously collected.
  • Officer workload has balanced across the region creating a better work/life balance for employees (average length of calls for service, over a 24-hour period in every zone, falls within 10 minutes).
  • Neighbourhoods are receiving equalized policing based on community needs.

Availability of a Communication Strategy:


Key Messages used to Publicize the Initiative:

Neighbourhood Policing provides balanced policing services throughout the region with a goal of maximizing officers’ ability to do proactive work within the neighbourhoods they police.

The service has a detailed account of what our officers are doing and the relative demands placed on them. Officers’ patrol time is analyzed and accountable to three categories: response to citizen-generated calls for service, administrative duties (court, lunch, reports, etc.) and proactive policing duties (crime prevention, traffic enforcement, etc.).

We are continually looking to find efficiencies in policing.

Forms of Evaluation by which the Initiative will be Assessed:

  • formative
  • summative
  • internal
  • external
  • quantitative

Evaluation Completed or Community Feedback Received:


Summary of the Outcomes:

To date, feedback has come from the police services board and the municipal council with respect to the updates they have received. They like the data results and charting that we have provided to show the change after one year of implementation.

Anecdotally, we have noticed an increase in compliments on police visibility in neighbourhoods, but no formal tracking has occurred.

Summary of the Performance Measure Data Collected:


Economics of Policing Pillars:

Further Details:

The project helps identify inefficiencies and generates change. It also assists in providing a balanced form of managing divisions across the region by creating a level playing field. Therefore an inefficient division will be identified quickly through data collection and analysis. For example, we found one division was spending 35 more hours a week on report writing than the other two divisions, yet the workload was evenly distributed. This prompted a review, and shared practices brought them in line with the other two divisions.

Officers' time spent in their respective zones has increased due to the balance of workload. They are crossing zone boundaries less frequently, which results in faster emergency response times.

Additional Comments or Suggestions:

This is a large-scale initiative with numerous benefits, perhaps too many to explain in this survey. We can provide numerous documents that support this initiative.

Record Entry Date:


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