Police numbers maintained despite budget cuts
March 18th, 2015
A report highlighting the scale of cost savings achieved by Cambridgeshire Constabulary was presented to Cambridgeshire’s Police and Crime Panel meeting today (18 March) by Police and Crime Commissioner Sir Graham Bright.
The panel were told that savings achieved between 2013/14 and 2015/16 amount to £13.3 million. These savings have been made without reducing the number of frontline officers. The number of officers in 2015/16 will be 1,343 with 990 of these being local policing officer posts. A total of 816 police staff and 150 Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) are also included in the budget. There will also be 300 Special Constables.
Commenting on the budget Sir Graham said: “I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in meeting these savings targets over the last three years. Everyone has risen to the challenge of finding savings in every corner of the organisation to help balance the budget. In particular I would like to thank Chief Constable Simon Parr and my deputy, Brian Ashton, who have worked tirelessly with me to ensure Cambridgeshire Constabulary are on a strong financial footing as we move forward. To be in this position without having had to reduce officer numbers is a fantastic achievement.”
However, Sir Graham recognises that the task is nowhere near complete and that the biggest challenges are yet to come: “Savings over the coming years will be of a similar scale to those already achieved. Whilst we can be proud of the way the savings have been managed so far, the savings we need to achieve moving forward will require some tough decisions and changes to the way we work. The savings needed cannot be accomplished through small improvements in efficiency. It will require innovative thinking by my Office and by the Constabulary.”
Future savings requirements are known and are being planned for. One of the ways that significant savings are expected to be made is through collaborating with other forces, notably with Bedfordshire Police and Hertfordshire Constabulary. A Strategic Alliance has been agreed between the three forces who now collaborate on areas such as Roads Policing, Major Crime and Procurement. Teams across the Alliance are preparing plans to find further savings and several other areas of potential collaboration are being explored.
At the same time there has been a significant investment in the adoption of modern mobile technology. Officers are being equipped with smart phones and tablets with the ability to examine 27 databases automatically and enable simultaneous completion of multiple administrative forms. This offers significant potential savings to back office functions.
Through careful management of resources it has been possible to focus effort on some of the most vulnerable members of society, most visibly demonstrated through the Victims’ Hub which was established last year to help victims of crime cope and recover from their experiences.
Sir Graham notes: “I am fully aware that what the public want to see from their Police Force is greater visibility of uniformed officers. People want to see Bobbies on the beat with local officers patrolling the towns and villages. However, we have to operate in the reality of the budget we have available and the work we have to do to keep people safe. The new technology we are deploying will enable officers to receive and send real time information and reduce the need to return to a fixed base to complete paperwork. While I am not able to guarantee we will be able to maintain the same number of officers in the long term, the steps we are taking now help maximise the effectiveness and visibility of officers in the communities they serve.”
Notes to editors
Media enquiries to:
Charles Kitchin – Director of Public Engagement & Communications
Director of Public Engagement & Communications
Tel DD: 01954 713906
Mobile: 07809 332291
About The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner
Sir Graham Bright is the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire.
Police and Crime Commissioners have responsibility for delivering an efficient and effective police service in their area. Commissioners set police and crime objectives, the police budget and issue crime and disorder reduction grants through the Police and Crime Plan. Commissioners also hold the police to account, making them answerable to the public.
Further details can be found on the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner website