Nottinghamshire has been praised by government inspectors for the steps it has taken to meet tough financial savings while continuing to cut crime.
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) says the force is on target to deliver the savings required of it over the next two years.
In a report published today – Valuing the Police 3 Nottinghamshire Police’s Response to the Funding Challenge – HMIC said: “Nottinghamshire Police has a more difficult financial challenge than many other forces yet it has developed a detailed change programme which will allow it to reduce costs while continuing to fight crime.
“Over the first two years of the spending review, recorded crime (excluding fraud) fell by 19 per cent. Victim satisfaction remains high at 87.3 per cent.
“This strong performance indicates that Nottinghamshire Police has been able to make savings without having a detrimental effect on the service it provides to the public.”
HMIC visited all 43 forces earlier this year as part of its programme of value for money inspections.
Its report said Nottinghamshire planned to reduce police officer numbers by seven per cent from March 2010-2015, a smaller reduction to most other forces.
It also acknowledged the force is protecting front line posts by increasing the proportion of officers in these roles to 94 per cent – above the national average.
However, HMIC say the number of police staff is planned to fall by 19 per cent by March 2015, a much higher reduction than that planned by most other forces.
It praises force plans to increase the number of PCSOs by 40 per cent,describing this as ‘commendable’ as many forces are reducing the number of PCSOs. The report goes on to praise the force for showing a strong commitment to working with other forces in the region, saying there are well established structures and processes in place to manage collaboration arrangements.
It says the election of Police and Crime Commissioners provides an opportunity for a fresh look at the approach to regional collaboration, their effectiveness and how further savings can be made.
HMIC also believe the force is doing well to ensure officers and staff are engaged with its change programme.
It says a range of approaches have been developed to achieve this.
“A change team is in place engages with staff in areas affected by the force change programme. The Chief Constable meets regularly with the staff associations and unions to discuss the programme. They are also invited to be involved in the work to develop the force’s new operating model.
“The wider workforce is also fully engaged through internal meetings,intranet messages and briefings from chief officers. This communication includes an opportunity for staff to feedback their own views and concerns,including making suggestions for change. Staff describe the chief officer team as being very keen to listen to ideas.
“This level of engagement with staff will assist the force in making progress as it moves toward its new operating model.”
The report ends by saying the force has begun work to develop its‘Target Operating Model’, which will provide the model for the way the force operates in future years.
“Although work to design the new operating model has been slow to start,what has been done is promising and has involved and engaged the workforce. This will provide a good foundation for the future of the programme.
“Nottinghamshire Police has achieved higher levels of crime reduction over the spending review period than in previous years. This is promising and HMIC is keen for the trend to continue.”
Deputy Chief Constable Sue Fish said: “The last two years have been incredibly tough. Faced with unprecedented funding cuts we have had to fundamentally change the way we deliver policing across Nottinghamshire at the same time as cutting crime.
“The fact we have been able to do this is testament to the talent and commitment of our officers and staff. I’m delighted HMIC have acknowledged the enormous strides we have made.
“Today’s report gives people an insight into just how big the challenges are that we have been facing and how we have gone about trying to overcome them.
“There is still a lot of to do and we can’t, and won’t become complacent. But as today’s report shows, we are in a strong position as we move forward.”
Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping said: “I’m pleased to see that HMIC has recognised the success of the approach adopted by Nottinghamshire to meet the challenges of the funding cuts. It is even more creditable when you consider the improvements we have witnessed in the last couple of years in performance. This is due to strong leadership and a committed workforce, all of whom should be acknowledged. This report is a result of their hard work.
“However, we must not underestimate the scale of the task ahead as we are asked to deliver further savings while trying to protect performance. While I welcome the findings of this report I am under no illusions that the future will be anything but tough, with difficult decisions to be made.”
For a full copy of the report, please click here.
Posted on Friday 19th July 2013