PCCs Angus Macpherson and Sue Mountstevens
The Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) and Chief Constables of Wiltshire and Avon & Somerset agreed the principles which will govern their strategic alliance when they met on Wednesday (18 March 2015).
Leaders of the two forces announced at the end of January that they had decided to widen their existing collaborations to help them achieve significant savings over the next five years.
At the meeting in Keynsham, near Bristol, on Wednesday the neighbouring forces reached agreement on a number of points:
- There will be two independent Chief Constables accountable to two PCCs
- They will develop a common approach to policing and, wherever possible, the two partners will carry out activities once across the combined area
- Local policing will remain locally managed with local commanders for identified policing areas
- A shared vision and values will be at the heart of the programme
- Governance will be shared with each partner having an equal voice. A Strategic Alliance board will be jointly chaired by both PCCs and will include Chief Constables
- An externally verified financial strategy will identify a fair way of sharing programme costs and savings
- A target of £30m in revenue savings by 2018/19 with resources for local policing preserved as far as possible
- Existing partnerships with councils or other forces to be fully considered
- Consultation with staff and the public will go on throughout the programme to ensure that the service meets the needs of local communities whilst delivering value for money.
They also signed a Heads of Terms agreement, a legal document under section 22 of the Police Act 1996 which enables commissioners and chief officers to make a collaboration agreement in the interests of efficiency or effectiveness.
A programme director is currently being recruited and a joint design and implementation team will be set up to plan the transition.
Angus Macpherson, PCC for Wiltshire and Swindon, said: “My force needs to find savings of more than £10m over the next three years under the Government’s austerity programme. That is on top of the millions of pounds we have already saved since 2010. It is our considered view that the only way of achieving that level of savings is by entering this strategic alliance with Avon & Somerset. I would like to emphasise that local policing will continue to be managed and delivered locally in response to the needs of our particular communities.
“This will be a major piece of work, and it will take time, but I am pleased with the early progress and I am sure that the appointment of a programme director will provide additional momentum.”
Sue Mountstevens, PCC for Avon and Somerset, said: “Having agreed to enter into an alliance back in January we have now signed a legal framework which underpins this agreement. This important step demonstrates our shared desire to move forward with our plans and the benefits it will bring in delivering savings and help us minimise the impact of cuts on frontline policing.
“I’m pleased that we’ve also agreed the initial phase of work for a joint project team and which will help establish exactly what the alliance will look like in terms of the resources we’ll share. We remain committed to our local policing and supporting our communities and this will underpin our work on the alliance.”
Posted on Friday 20th March 2015