The Metropolitan Police force is revolutionising its HR practices in a drive to retain staff and improve its crime detection rate.
The strategy, being rolled out over five years and based around a custom-designed software system, will be adopted by all 43 forces across the country.
The aim is to identify and utilise employee skills and experience.
Police officers change jobs every few years once they have completed their "tenure", but until now they have not been skills-matched to jobs.
This has resulted in wasted talent and massive spending on training to redress the balance, according to the force.
"We have tight budgets and we need to be more sophisticated in the way we use our resources," said Police Commissioner John Stevens at the initiative launch last week.
"We do not know where our skills are. We have not been very good at doing that."
From the end of the year appraisal data will be fed into the computer system allowing personnel to match skills to posts. It will also allow HR to identify skills gaps so that recruitment and training can be more accurately targeted.
HR director Pat Woods added that automating administrative jobs will save time and money. For example, the time it takes to complete appraisals will be cut by 50 per cent.
"We have been concentrating on getting processes right," she said. "That is important, but we want the HR function to be a strategic business partner with local managers."
By Dominique Hammond