A report published today (Thursday 18 July) by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) praises Staffordshire Police for delivering savings and continuing to reduce crime in challenging financial times.
The “Valuing the Police” report sets out that the force “has responded well to the challenge of making savings” and “maintained strong performance in reducing crime”.
The force needs to save £32.6 million over the four years (March 2011 to March 2015) of the comprehensive spending review (CSR) and has already made very significant progress with £28 million saved to date.
Over the same period crime has reduced across the county by 16% or over 11,000 offences from 70,632 to 59, 307 – that’s better than the national average according to the report. Serious acquisitive crime, which includes burglary, car crime and robbery, also fell by 15% or 1,400 offences from 9,277 to 7,846 offences.
Over the same period the force maintained victim satisfaction levels with nine-out-of-ten crime and anti-social behaviour victims saying they were satisfied with the service they received.
Commenting on the report, Chief Constable Mike Cunningham said:
“This is a tremendous tribute to the hard work and commitment of our staff, partners and the communities of Staffordshire whose support is invaluable.
“We’ve made savings in a planned and sustainable way – year-on-year - and worked to the principle that front-line, operational policing is protected as far as possible. I’m pleased that the report recognises our commitment to this. It highlights that the proportion of police officers in front-line roles is projected to increase from 93% to 94% over the spending review period. That means that 47 out of every 50 officers will be in front-line crime-fighting roles, serving and protecting the public.
“Achieving this has meant streamlining our structures, reducing management levels and centralising support functions. We’ve also made frontline policing processes such as how we deal with incidents and defendants much less cumbersome so they free up officer time for visibility and service. ‘Middle office’, operational processes have also been reviewed and changed for the same reasons.
“The force has risen to the challenge of adapting to austere times and we’ve done so with a commitment to cutting crime and delivering quality services.
“However, whilst we’ve made really positive progress, there’s still much more to do and we’re already preparing for further challenges ahead in the years beyond 2015.
“We will do so with continued commitment and optimism and I’m looking forward to working closely with Staffordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner over the coming years to make the force even more effective and efficient.”
Also responding to today’s HMIC ‘Valuing the Police’ report, Police and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire, Matthew Ellis commented:
“This is a very informative document from HMIC and while the inspection was limited in its scope, the areas examined show that Staffordshire Police has done a tremendous job over the last couple of years in adapting to the financial challenge.
“That stable position means there is a solid and stable position from which to move on with the ambitions at the heart of Safer, Fairer, United Communities. Over the next few years we’ll go even further in spending public money more effective and supporting all agencies to work collectively to common outcomes that really matter.
“I envisage that a significant part of the savings we have identified through buying better and improving the use of technology and other infrastructure that supports policing will be moved to front line policing. I’m confident we can protect frontline policing numbers better than was originally planned before I took office and that will remain my focus.
“Making Staffordshire’s contribution towards the national savings needed whilst improving
policing is absolutely on the cards. The new investment in technology I planned will start shortly meaning thousands of hours of frontline police time each year will be freed up.
“The future for policing in Staffordshire is bright and while less will be spent overall I’m
certain that agencies working more effectively than ever before will see real benefits for Staffordshire people in their everyday lives.”
These themes are central to the Police and Crime Commissioner’s 5 year strategy Safer, Fairer, United Communities, that is currently out for consultation until the end of August.