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Title: Hitting the target but missing the point : Merseyside Police's response to the BRM satisfaction gap
Author: Pantak, N.
ISNI:       0000 0004 6496 2698
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2017
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The study is an evaluation of how Merseyside Police attempted to narrow the Black and Racial Minority (BRM) satisfaction gap, as measured by the Home Office performance indicator. The research considers the sense with which both police officers and, more importantly, victims made of the policies and processes used. It asks whether this activity resulted in an improvement to the service being provided, therefore benefitting the victim, or in the construction of performance data thereby benefitting the organisation. The research was undertaken between 2011 and 2015 and completed as a case study. It involved the views of those people within Merseyside Police who were responsible for the design and implementation of policy along, with some of those responsible for delivering the service to the public. The research also includes the narrative of victims who had taken part in Merseyside Police’s monthly victim satisfaction survey. The BRM satisfaction gap was initially proposed by the Macpherson Report, which had examined the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence. It was one of ten performance indicators intending to monitor and assess whether trust and confidence in the police was improving within BRM communities. Previous research had identified factors other than the quality of police contact as influencing a person’s level of satisfaction. However, this research shows how the BRM satisfaction gap was treated as a single subject by Merseyside Police, who chose to focus purely on service delivery to improve victim satisfaction. Warnings regarding statistical relevance of the BRM satisfaction gap, along with concerns as to whether the victim satisfaction survey was fit for purpose, were ignored in their efforts to ensure the performance indicator was on target. The research highlights how New Public Management (NPM) principles of performance management were used to produce organisational focus and develop a system which closely tracked the service provided to BRM victims by individual officers. However, it shows that although it resulted in a good knowledge amongst senior officers, this was not embedded amongst those delivering the service. Instead, reporting officers developed their own working practices to deliver Merseyside Police’s required ‘Gold Service’ to BRM victims, whilst many victims remained confused and frustrated with the service provided. Merseyside Police did statistically narrow the BRM satisfaction gap. However, the research highlights the influence of performance construction and questions whether the recorded improvement in performance was as result of an improved service or was manufactured by gaming techniques. Although the BRM satisfaction gap was intended to measure trust and confidence, the research concludes this was never a consideration for Merseyside Police who, instead, focussed their efforts on improving their performance indicator.
Supervisor: Walklate, S. ; Hancock, L. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral