The challenges of policing Essex
Essex Police must rise to the challenge of finding further savings to its budget and like many other public sector organisations the force will need to change the way it delivers policing across the county. Operating within a reduced budget means the force must be bold in seeking new ways of doing things whilst continuing to keep our county safe.
As a key part of this process, Essex Police has launched the Evolve Programme with the aim of designing and delivering a policing model which is flexible and sustainable, allowing Essex Police to provide the best possible policing services to our communities for the years to come.
The amount of money that Essex Police gets from central government is forecast to reduce by £16 million over the next three years. Alongside this, over the following 3 years, the force anticipates cost pressures in the region of £20 million a year. These pressures are made up of factors which are difficult to control such as inflation, wage rises and National Insurance contributions. In short, Essex Police is required to make efficiency savings of around 3-3.5 per cent of total budget in each of the next three years, with a reduction in total budget of £36 million a year by March 2017.
Police and Crime Commissioner Nick Alston and Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh are committed to including the people of our county in the debate and have agreed a set of principles which will help shape this work.
These core principles include:
- Focusing on the issues that pose the greatest threats to our communities
- Providing a prompt and professional response to calls for assistance
- Keeping PCSOs as an integral part of local neighbourhood policing
- Building on the good work of the Special Constabulary and other volunteers
- Reducing unnecessary bureaucracy
- ‘Spending to save’ where opportunities arise
Nick Alston, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said: “I have been working closely with the Chief Constable to develop an ambitious and coherent strategic framework to guide the force through the next few years, able to respond to local and national challenges and to continue to reduce the number of victims of crime in our county. Essex Police must continue to be visible, responsive and close to communities, whilst disrupting and dismantling organised criminal networks. We must consider opportunities for increased collaboration and new sources of funding, and for increasing efficiency through innovative use of new technology, whilst always remembering that the core purpose of Essex Police is to keep the people of our county safe as effectively and professionally as possible.”
Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh said: “We have a professional and experienced workforce who are working hard to identify areas across the policing landscape where savings and further efficiencies can be made. There will be difficult decisions ahead and we will become a smaller police force with fewer employees. We will assess a wide range of areas including demand management, attendance and productivity and will ensure that the communities we serve are kept as informed as possible.”
The full list of nine core principles agreed by the Chief Constable and the Police and Crime Commissioner is as follows:
- Remain cognisant of the need to deliver against the PCC’s Police & Crime Plan to reduce crime and recognise our contribution to the national policing picture through the Strategic Policing Requirement;
- Maximise the capability and visibility of the workforce in the frontline and enhance staff skills and career progression through active management of all staff matters;
- Have a policing model based on critical demand, threat, harm and risk utilising national value for money benchmarking and demand profiles to underpin modelling decisions;
- Ensure that the policing model recognises effective and efficient neighbourhood policing as integral to community confidence and PCSOs as an integral part of that model;
- Build the capability and capacity of the Special Constabulary to be able to integrate fully into the policing model;
- Maximise opportunities for accessing external funding opportunities and maximise income from available sources;
- Exploit opportunities for further collaboration with our preferred partners Kent, in the Eastern Region and in both the public and private sector partnerships where benefits can be achieved;
- Through very tight budgetary control ensure that no area of business is exempt from scrutiny to find the required budget reductions and reduce unnecessary bureaucracy;
- Be prepared to ‘spend to save’ where there are compelling business cases, in particular to identify opportunities for technology to aid productivity across service delivery.