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Dorset PEEL 2014

Efficiency

How well the force delivers value for money

Last updated 12/11/2014
Good

 

Dorset Police has made good progress in making savings and continuing to fight crime, in spite of a difficult challenge. There is some risk that it will struggle to find savings in the future.

Dorset Police is on track to meet its financial challenge of the spending review period. It also has plans in place to find nearly all of the savings it needs for the following financial year of 2015/16.

The force is also looking beyond this period and is developing plans through to 2018, including an ambitious alliance with neighbouring Devon and Cornwall Police. There is some risk to savings plans beyond 2016, as it already has one of the largest percentage cuts to officer numbers. The level of reserves the force has access to is one of the lowest in England and Wales and could only support a budget shortfall for a limited time period.

Overall, the force understands the issues facing it, and has made good progress in making sure that its reducing workforce is being used as effectively as possible. HMIC was reassured that the force is working hard to find ways of making further savings through collaboration that will protect frontline policing and crime fighting.

Questions for Efficiency

1

To what extent is the force efficient?

To what extent is the force efficient?

HMIC found that Dorset Police has a good understanding of the demand it faces and has an effective way of making sure it maintains the right number of staff with the skills needed to respond to that demand. It is carrying out further detailed analysis of the true demand on safer neighbourhood teams to ensure that it has the capacity to provide effective local policing.

The force works well with local partners to improve the quality of service to local people.

Crime has continued to fall in Dorset at a greater rate than England and Wales, although levels of victim satisfaction with the force are below the average. The police and crime commissioner has begun an initiative to improve the way victims are kept updated.

 

Good
2

To what extent is the force taking steps to ensure a secure financial position for the short and long term?

Dorset Police faces a significant challenge in cutting its spending at the scale required. It already spends less on policing than most forces in England and Wales and has less scope to make the savings.

The force has made good progress and is on track to achieve the £23.2m savings it needs over the spending review period.

It has plans in place that will achieve most of the further £10.4m savings needed in 2015/16.

The force is developing plans through to 2018, but there is some risk as it already has one of the largest percentage cuts to officer numbers. However, HMIC is reassured that the force is working hard to find ways to identify further savings without having an impact on its ability to fight crime.

 

Good
3

To what extent has the force got an affordable way of providing policing?

Dorset Police has a well-established change programme, which has reduced the size of the workforce while protecting neighbourhood policing and addressing local crime fighting priorities.

The force has worked hard to protect frontline policing and has found ways of making savings to limit staff cuts. However, the force has still seen one of the largest reductions in its workforce of any force in England and Wales.

Even though the number of officers on the front line has fallen, the force has increased the proportion of police officers working in frontline roles.

Working in collaboration has added to the savings made, and the force is developing ambitious plans for further efficiencies with Devon and Cornwall Police.

 

Good