In a report published today (22 July 2014), Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) states that: Derbyshire Constabulary ‘is a low-cost constabulary and it has achieved savings in challenging financial circumstances.’
HMIC’s Valuing the Police programme looks at how forces have made savings following the government spending review in October 2010. In this, the fourth report, Derbyshire Constabulary overall performance is judged to be ‘good’ and the cost per officer per head of population is significantly lower than the average across England and Wales.
In response, PCC Alan Charles said: “HMIC acknowledges that the Force has managed to make significant savings in response to the Government’s harsh and ongoing cuts to police funding and we welcome this external validation of the sheer hard work and good management that is set to deliver £24.4m in savings by March next year.
“However, these cuts are inevitably having an impact on the service the Constabulary can provide to local residents, something which is bound to continue with the further indicated cuts of around £21m unless the handbrake is taken off the funding formula.
“We are currently undertaking a priority based budget exercise, looking closely at every area of our business, to see where further savings can be achieved. However, when staff costs account for nearly 80% of your overall budget, the options become more limited over time. You can only get so much juice out of one orange.”
Despite this, the report notes that ‘recorded crime has reduced over the spending review period and victim satisfaction is above the figure for England and Wales’.
Commissioner Charles added: “As HMIC confirms, police performance continues to be strong, which is hugely reassuring for local residents and acknowledges that ‘It [Derbyshire Constabulary] has plans to change the way in which it provides policing in the future so that it can continue to keep its communities safe with reduced resources’.
As the report finds ‘the outlook for 2016 and beyond is positive’ in relation to making the further harsh budget cuts that the Government is imposing – this is testament to a great deal of hard work and cautious budget planning carried out over the last few years. It’s rewarding for everyone to see it acknowledged, but the consequences for service delivery are significant.”
Derbyshire Constabulary’s Director of Finance and Business Services said: “We are pleased that the HMIC recognises the good progress we have made to make the required savings to our budget.
“However we know that some of the economies that we will have to make in the future will have tough consequences. We will do our very best to minimise any impact this will have on our service to the community.”
The report is the fourth annual survey into how all Police Forces in England and Wales are responding to budget cuts. Specifically it assesses:
- The extent to which Police Forces are taking the necessary steps to ensure a secure financial position for the short and long term
- The extent to which Police Forces have an affordable way of delivering policing; and
- The extent to which Police Forces are efficient.
HMIC uses four categories for making judgements, namely “outstanding”, “good”, “requires improvement” and “inadequate”. In all three areas under examination, Derbyshire Constabulary is graded as “good”.
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Posted on Tuesday 22nd July 2014