Home Affairs Committee publishes report on police finances
23 February 2011
The Commons Home Affairs Committee has published a short report on police finances, focusing on the impact of the Government’s proposed settlement for police forces from 2011-12 to 2014-15
The Committee concludes:
- Although data collection is not yet complete and there is uncertainty about the precise figures, it is expected that there will be significantly fewer police officers, police community support officers and police staff as a result of the savings being required of police forces over the next four years.
- The loss of posts will have an impact on the range of services that the police provide and the way in which they are provided. In this context, it will clearly be crucial that police forces manage the time of police officers and police staff in the most efficient and effective way possible.
- The current confusion about what constitutes the front line in the police service is unhelpful. Police forces are being asked to prioritise the front line. It is reasonable to expect the Home Office to say what it means by this term. The Home Office should work with the police service to produce an agreed definition of front line, middle office and back office police roles as soon as possible.
- The Government should continue taking urgent steps to reduce unnecessary bureaucracy. More co-ordinated procurement also offers scope for savings. The Home Office should clarify who will be responsible for driving better procurement when the National Policing Improvement Agency is phased out in spring 2012.
- The greatest savings are being required of police forces in 2012-13, when the transition from Police Authorities to Police and Crime Commissioners is scheduled to take place and when police forces nationwide will be under the additional pressure of policing the Olympics. The Home Office should acknowledge that there are risks involved in this transition and should set out how it should be managed.
- Police forces need a funding system that offers long-term predictability in order to be able to plan more effectively, especially at a time of reduced income.
Comments from the Chair
Rt. Hon Keith Vaz MP, Chairman of the Committee, said:
"Police forces in England and Wales face a challenging future. There is no doubt that the Government is requiring significant savings from the police and whilst the link between police officer numbers and levels of crime is complex, in the police service the largest proportion of budgets by far is spent on the workforce. In order to make these savings, police forces will have to rethink and reduce the range of services that they provide and the way in which they provide those services.
Taken with the election of Police and Crime Commissioners and the restructuring of the policing landscape, this represents a fundamental change to the nature of policing. The Committee will return to many of these subjects in more detail when it launches its inquiry into the New Landscape of Policing in the spring."
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