Cambridgeshire Constabulary well prepared to face future financial challenges
October 28th, 2015
CAMBRIDGESHIRE Constabulary, in common with other public organisations, is making important decisions as it strives to save millions of pounds.
At a meeting held this week, the Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner and Cambridgeshire Constabulary discussed the approach that would be taken to achieve the savings required. They also reviewed a number of programmes that would help deliver the savings and keep Cambridgeshire Constabulary in a strong financial position and continue to minimise the impact on front line policing.
Budget setting for 2016/17 is more difficult than usual as all police forces await the outcome of both the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review and the outcome of the review of the Police Funding Formula, both of which will determine the funding the Constabulary will receive from central government.
Looking back, significant savings have already been made. Between April 2013 and March 2016 savings of over £13 million have been achieved whilst protecting the number of front line police officers. However, looking ahead it is estimated that a further £19 million of savings will need to be found by the end of financial year 2019/20.
New technology continues to be rolled out across the Constabulary in order to improve efficiency, allowing officers more time to spend in the communities they serve. The Constabulary’s estate is under review and only those buildings that are needed are to be retained. Those buildings that are surplus to requirement will be disposed of. The Commissioner and the Constabulary are clear in agreeing that the budget will be spent on officers and staff rather than underused buildings. An example of this is Bridge Street police station in Peterborough which is expensive to maintain and underused. Plans are in train to vacate and sell the site.
Ongoing collaboration with Bedfordshire Police and Hertfordshire Constabulary provides a major source of cost savings while also increasing police service resilience. For example, the three forces are exploring the opportunities offered by having a shared, fully integrated, public contact service, enhancing telephone and online contact with the three forces.
Sir Graham Bright, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire, said: “Throughout my term of office my main aim has been to maintain front line policing and find savings from other areas of the business. Through careful planning over the last three years and by taking bold decisions, we are in a strong financial position with plans in place to meet the significant challenges ahead. Financial reserves mean we can smooth the impact of future funding reductions whilst the savings from collaboration with neighbouring forces are realised.”
A recent report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) endorsed this position. The “PEEL: Police efficiency 2015” report rated Cambridgeshire as “Good” and stated that the Constabulary was “well prepared to face its future financial challenges” and “has a good track record in reducing its costs while maintaining its police officer numbers”.
The Budget Strategy paper can be found on the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner website at http://www.cambridgeshire-pcc.gov.uk/work/.
HMIC’s report is available at http://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmic/wp-content/uploads/cambridgeshire-police-efficiency-2015.pdf