In a report on police efficiency released today, Avon and Somerset Police is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime, says the HMIC.
Inspectors found Avon and Somerset’s use of resources in meeting demand to be outstanding. They recognised the extent of the work undertaken to understand demand, and the involvement of the public and police officers and staff in reshaping and realigning resources. A greater understanding of costs and more efficient ways of working, has enabled collaborations with other forces and local partners to help meet demand from the public and keep within budget. HMIC said we are making good use of technology and best use of resources to provide the public with efficient policing services.
HMIC judged our workforce model to be good - sustainable and affordable. They said the modelling the force uses, to get the right resources in the right place at the right time, was a strong foundation for us to operate effectively. HMIC recognised the scale of the change programme associated with the move to the new operating model. Inspectors acknowledged the organisational risks of such a large-scale transition but were satisfied that the force was monitoring these closely. They felt early indications suggest the model is meeting demand within budget.
The Constabulary’s ability to achieve savings for the short and long term was judged as good. Inspectors said the Constabulary had good financial controls in place, and a strong foundation upon which to achieve further savings. They saw we had a strong track record of financial planning; they said the force was very well prepared to face its future financial challenges and acknowledged the work underway to plan for a potential funding shortfall of around £15million in 2016/17. HMIC said our plans accurately reflected the priorities of the PCC and recognised the good working relationships and information sharing arrangements in place between the PCC and the Constabulary.
Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: "I’m delighted that inspectors have recognised the hard work going on within Avon and Somerset Constabulary to provide the best possible police service to local people, while making the savings required by central government.
"The Peel report shows that the proportion of police officers on the frontline now is higher than it was in 2010 and higher than the national average. The report also shows that Avon and Somerset remains a safe place to live and work with a police service that costs significantly less per head of population than other parts of England and Wales.
"HMIC has rated the Constabulary’s understanding of demand as outstanding, recognising the hard work that has gone to better understand local people’s demands for today’s police service. Inspectors also acknowledged the strides that have been made to utilise technology to model resources and to keep officers on the beat for longer.
"I’m under no illusion that we face a significant challenge in November with the next comprehensive spending review. Balancing the budget and meeting the demands of modern day policing will be testing," she said.
Temporary Chief Constable, Gareth Morgan, said: "I’m really pleased to see such positive recognition for the hard work undertaken across the Constabulary in balancing the budget and adapting new ways of working to meet demand. It’s very well deserved. Police officers and staff have worked incredibly hard to make the new operating model work. Change on such a major scale is never easy and I am proud of what has been achieved in very testing circumstances. There are more challenges ahead in the years to come as austerity continues and the budget provided to policing reduces further. I don’t underestimate the size of the challenge and the potential impact on policing going forward and will be working hard with colleagues to ensure we maintain the best possible service to the people of Avon and Somerset within the budget available."
Posted on Tuesday 20th October 2015