Vera Baird

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Commissioner’s Response – HMIC Inspection – Northumbria Police’s response to the funding challenge.

16th August 2013

Response to the HMIC latest report on Policing in Austerity, Rising to the Challenge, specifically Northumbria Police’s response to the funding challenge, published July 2013.

Having read this report I am reassured that HMIC found that Northumbria police have demonstrated that they understand the scale of the financial challenges ahead, and has the capacity and capability and governance structures to deliver the savings required by the end of this spending review period.

HMIC have found that the force have reviewed their organisational structure and changed how they operate to reduce costs, putting it in a good position to make future savings over the next two years.

I am working closely with the Chief Constable to identify how we will meet the savings that are required over future years.  We are aware that Northumbria faces considerable challenges particularlyaround the future of the current funding formula which if it were changed may have a significant detrimental on Northumbria.

I welcome the finding that HMIC saw good evidence of engagement with the workforce through the change programme and am committed to ensuring that this level of engagement is maintained through the coming years.

From a local community perspective, the force has, whilst making savings, successfully protected frontline posts and between March 2010 and March 2015 is committed to increasing the proportion of officers in frontline crime fighting roles from 88% to 93%.  This all important focus on local communities and frontline policing, has I think been reflected in the reductions in crime levels and a level of sanction detections and satisfaction levels that are considerable higher than most other forces.

But there is no doubt that there is a considerable challenge ahead.  As Police and Crime Commissioner I will work to ensure that the next round of financial challenge has the minimum impact on the services provided to local people.  As an elected local policing body I will lobby national government to ensure that future funding settlements for Northumbria are truly reflective of its’ policing requirement.

See the national HMIC report on Policing in Austerity: Rising to the Challenge.