LANCASHIRE CONSTABULARY: OUTSTANDING, says HMIC
LANCASHIREConstabulary has beenjudged as outstanding by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies (HMIC), in a report released today.
HMIC Valuing the Police programme assesses how well the Constabulary provides a value for money service to the residents of Lancashire, set against the backdrop of difficult financial challenges due to government cuts in funding.
Lancashire police were rated ‘Outstanding’ in the categories of financial planning and delivering an affordable police service, and ‘Good’ in efficiency – with an overall ‘Outstanding’ judgment.
In the report, ‘Policing in Austerity – Meeting the Challenge’ HMIC highlighted how the Constabulary:
- · is in a secure financial position as a result of strong leadership and financial planning, meaning that it will deliver all the savings it needs in 2015/16;
- · has approached its change programme professionally and robustly and that future plans to make the additional required savings are innovative and ambitious;
- · has changed the way it delivers policing to increase visibility, reduce costs and remain effective with fewer staff;
- · has a good understanding of its demand; in particular highlighting the detailed and sophisticated approach to assessing risks in neighbourhoods.
The Constabulary has to identify savings of around £80 million by 2017/18 to meet the savings requirement generated by the government’s austerity measures. £60 million has already been identified through a series of organisational reviews, which has seen the workforce reduce by 957 since March 2010 (16% of total workforce), as well as a wholesale re-design of the Constabulary’s geographic footprint.
Commenting on the release of the report, Deputy Chief Constable Andy Rhodes said: “I am extremely pleased that HMIC has recognised that the Constabulary has responded well to the financial challenge it faces and that we are on track to make the necessary savings by 2015/2016.
“However, whilst we have succeeded in minimising the impact on frontline services so far, the remaining £20 million is going to be more painful. There is no doubt that the public will start to feel a difference in how we police and that was always going to be an inevitable consequence of losing over 600 police officers.
“The Constabulary is determined to meet this challenge and whilst we will continue to prioritise the frontline, we can no longer preserve it. However, people in Lancashire should be in no doubt that whilst policing will need to change in the future, our determination to deliver high quality services to keep them safe remains at the forefront of any change.”
Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Clive Grunshaw, congratulated the Constabulary on its achievements but sounded a note of caution.
Mr Grunshaw said: “The HMIC has recognised that the Constabulary’s commitment, professionalism and strong leadership have enabled the force to reach a robust financial position through its change programme.
“Consistently, my priorities have been to protect front line policing and to protect vulnerable people. The HMIC report recognises that we have made substantial progress in reaching these priorities. Of the £60m of savings, so far three quarters have come from back office and support services. This has enabled us to protect, as far as possible, front line policing such as neighbourhood policing and response policing.
“However, I said earlier this year that it would be incredibly difficult for the Constabulary to find savings beyond the initial financial ask, and that is exactly the position they are facing. There is no doubt that the next £20 million is going to be hard to achieve without it impacting on the frontline.
Despite the challenges, both the Deputy Chief Constable and the PCC are clear that keeping people in Lancashire safe, especially those who are most vulnerable, remains their utmost priority.
To read the full HMIC report for Lancashire, follow this link