TOEX Delivering Additional Capacity and Significant Capability to Law Enforcement
The final report, following an independent evaluation of the Tackling Organised Exploitation (TOEX) Programme, has concluded that it is delivering additional capacity, significant capability, and improving the UK’s understanding of the threat from organised exploitation as well as making significant savings to both law enforcement and wider society.
The evaluation has been carried out by Crest Advisory, who were commissioned as independent evaluators for the programme in February 2021 and are specialists within the field of crime and criminal justice. The team developed a framework to ensure the evaluation was objective and robust and it was subsequently extended in early 2022 to cover the first year of TOEX national implementation.
During the evaluation, Crest spoke to around 75 people (TOEX and non-TOEX) and drew upon a large range of TOEX and partner data sources to assess the programme.
In evaluating the work of the embedded TOEX teams within each of the Regional Organised Crime Units (ROCUs), who provide dedicated intelligence and analytical expertise in support of forces, Crest concluded that “TOEX has provided vital capacity to the SOC system, supporting a growing number of investigations and ensuring they are moved forward and then closed down when appropriate” and the programme “continues to identify hidden harm through proactive investigation of OE”. In addition, “national stakeholders are confident that TOEX is having a positive impact on the SOC system through its whole-system approach and nationally coordinated, regionally delivered model”.
Crest also evaluated the technical innovation across the network, and in particular, the cloud-based capabilities environment, which will house a number of data tools and apps to support forces and regions in tackling complex investigations and serious and organised crime. The report concluded that “the technical capabilities developed by TOEX are innovative and possess significant potential for the programme, wider law enforcement, and the state of police technology” and the “tools already developed for use within the capabilities environment have demonstrated significant value and efficiency”.
Previously, Crest also published a report analysing the economic and social value of the TOEX model. It concluded that the TOEX operating model had uncovered £156.3 million worth of annual social and economic costs to the UK from organised exploitation - not recognised elsewhere in the policing system - of which £30.8 million is cashable.
The report also highlighted that the resulting TOEX response had significantly reduced the time taken to identify, prioritise, and disrupt high-harm threats - saving a total of £1.27 million per year in resources, compared to what would have been required to identify the same threats without TOEX.
TOEX Programme Director, T/Detective Chief Superintendent Kate Thacker, said: “This two-year evaluation has been a robust and detailed assessment of the programme; delving into all aspects of process, impact, outcomes, and economics. It offers useful insight into operational delivery, including the views of force-level service recipients who have worked alongside TOEX when tackling these complex cases.
“I am extremely proud of what the team has achieved to date, both operationally and technically, and I also offer my thanks to the numerous partner organisations and individuals who have supported and collaborated with us along the way.
"The TOEX model is responding to threats that may otherwise fall through the gaps in law enforcement, supporting organised exploitation investigations across all tiers of policing and making a fundamental difference to the way policing understands and ultimately disrupts these SOC threats.
“Not only is the intelligence and analytical service TOEX provides being very well received by investigators, it is financially viable and represents a blue-print for whole-systems policing.
“The technical innovation being developed in collaboration with industry partners is ground-breaking and with the imminent launch of the NPCC Capabilities Environment, the first step has been taken to provide a central cloud-hosted digital environment to policing. This ‘app store’ will change the way we approach digital and analytical services for all threats and has huge potential for growth across the law enforcement community.”