Police Need To Transform Their Efficiency, Says Report

A report by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary, ‘Adapting to Austerity’, found that authorities and forces have made a good start in developing plans for the next four years, but they need to transform their efficiency if they are to succeed in sustaining services while cutting costs.

HMIC inspected the 43 police authorities and forces in England and Wales to look at how prepared they were to make savings over the four years of the CSR.

The data available to HMIC suggests that police authorities and forces have made a good start in: setting an ambition to reduce crime; protecting the frontline; using a wide variety of means to improve efficiency; and looking to go further through radical joint ventures.

However, HMIC found that protecting the frontline will be very challenging over the next eighteen months as two thirds of the cuts to central government funding fall within the first two CSR years (2011/12 and 2012/13). Forces will have to transform their efficiency if they are to protect frontline services.

Forces have estimated how much they need to reduce their workforce to live within their means. They plan to reduce their workforce by approximately 34,100 by March 2015 compared with March 2010. This comprises 16,200 police officers, 1,800 PCSOs and 16,100 police staff - a reduction of 14%. Nearly a third of this 34,100 cut has happened already – the workforce reduced by 11,200 between March 2010 and March 2011 as forces made cuts in preparation for the financial challenge ahead.

Estimated data from 42 police forces shows that they plan to cut frontline numbers by 2% between March 2010 and March 2012 with the rest of the workforce reducing by 11% over the same period. This suggests forces are making efforts to protect frontline roles. Data available limits assessment beyond March 2012, but if the cut to frontline numbers is to remain modest, the non-frontline efficiency would have to be transformed.

Of the 38 forces that provided workforce data for March 2015, 22 forces would have to cut more than 30% of their non-frontline workforce in order to protect frontline numbers.

Seventeen authorities and forces had plans setting out how they intended to make these cuts. But 26 had not yet worked out how they were going to make all of the savings they needed; this amounted to £0.5bn. All 26 aimed to complete these plans during 2011/12.

HMIC found that the police service will need support in order to succeed in transforming efficiency.


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