A plan to support Police Service reform and improve value for money was today laid out by senior police figures.
The joint report builds on the government’s Policing White Paper and provides further detail on how savings of at least £545 million will be delivered.
The recommendations were compiled by representatives from the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), the Association of Police Authorities (APA), the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA), Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) and the Home Office.
The report sets out opportunities for police forces and authorities in England and Wales to improve value for money, including:
• reforming police shift patterns to better suit the public and cut back on overtime payments;
• streamlining back-office support services;
• developing smarter procurement policies and finding cheaper IT solutions; and
• increasing the efficiency of systems and processes.
The document also includes calls for chief constables to consider how best they provide neighbourhood services, including forces reviewing whether their basic command units maximise delivery for the public.
Policing Minister David Hanson MP will now write to all chief constables and police authorities urging them to assess how the report’s findings can help them improve their efforts to maximise value for money.
Mr Hanson said:
“Our police forces are doing a great job of cutting crime and boosting public confidence, but we must make sure we get full value for every penny of taxpayers’ cash.
“Funding for the police next year will increase by 2.7 per cent to £9.7 billion and we have announced funding will be protected for front line services until 2013.
“This report is about the Home Office working with the police family to drive forward the reform agenda and supporting forces to use money where people want it spent – on the frontline.”
HMIC will launch an inspection of the country’s forces later this year focussing on the value for money they give to the public.
ACPO lead on finance and resources Chief Constable Grahame Maxwell said:
“The police service has been highly creative in making savings without impacting on our front line service and will respond positively to the recommendations in this report. Value for money is vital and we are seeing some strong examples of innovation, with forces collaborating on IT, on joint operations and other services. Some forces have already begun a process of replacing their basic command unit (BCU) structures whilst others are refining the BCU structure to deal with modern demands.
"The police service is a 24-hour, seven day a week organisation and has to be able to respond flexibly to any event or crime at any time. Overtime is paid to officers of constable or sergeant rank only and reflects the realities of modern policing. It should always be properly monitored by chief officers and police authorities for cost effectiveness. The service is absolutely committed to driving efficiencies while ensuring that the right structures and resources can be called on to meet the needs of each and every local community we serve."
APA Chair Rob Garnham said:
“When money is tight, communities need to know more than ever that the police are spending their money in the most efficient way possible.
“Police Authorities, who set and monitor Constabulary budgets, are committed to identifying and creating cost savings that make a significant impact within the police service, yet still retain the vital services that local people say they depend on.”
Chief Constable Peter Neyroud, Chief Executive of the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA), said:
"The NPIA contributes to better value for money through all that we do, and we are playing a central role in delivering many of the recommendations in the report.
“We will work with policing partners to streamline support services, achieve better procurement of goods and services, and improve how IT supports frontline officers whilst also reducing its cost, all of which will support delivery of £400 million cash savings for policing by 2014. We will also lead a programme of work that will help the service to achieve £500 million in productivity savings."
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. The High Level Working Group on Value for Money report can be found on the Home Office website.
2. For more information, contact the Home Office Press Office newsdesk on 020 7035 3535.
Phone: For enquiries please contact the above department