Change in the way policing operates has become an integral part of every police force in the country. Here in Derbyshire, I am proud of how our Constabulary has picked up the challenges of the last 12 months, staying on track despite ongoing funding cuts.
Tellingly, the force has received good reports from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary. It has remained within budget yet still managed to deliver a quality police service. And latest crime figures show a slight reduction in crime compared with this time last year.
These achievements are testament to a hard-working force that also understands – and acts upon – the wisdom of teaming up with partners and drawing upon their expertise in the fight against crime. Working together on issues like mental health, domestic abuse and child sexual exploitation helps to both prevent vulnerable people becoming victims and protect them against repeat victimisation in the future.
If we had a bottomless pot of money, there’s no doubt that criminals of all kinds would be the losers. But we haven’t. Thanks to relentless funding cuts, the light at the end of the tunnel is very far away. The only way forward is to deal with the situation, and remain determined to provide a quality police force.
A few weeks ago we set the ball rolling for a joint Police Headquarters with Fire and Rescue. This will help, in the long run, to cut costs. But we need to look at more ways of saving money to fill gaps caused by further funding reductions in the months ahead.
Our officers, staff and volunteers work tirelessly to keep our residents and workplaces safe. But we know that there will have to be changes in how this is done. Some new ways of working arise from the take-up of latest technology, which can be a good thing. Some of it is driven by the austerity measures that continue to assail us.
However, we can move forward into 2015 with the comforting knowledge that Derbyshire Constabulary is in a good place, both financially and in terms of performance, due to careful management on all fronts. This has called for a need to adapt and a willingness to embrace change. Neither are easy demands but our force has done what is necessary.
With these experiences behind us, together with a workforce that puts the people it serves first, I feel confident that we can all face the challenges of 2015 with renewed strength and vigour.
I wish you all a Happy New Year.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Derbyshire
Posted on Tuesday 30th December 2014