Northamptonshire PEEL 2014
How well the force delivers value for money
While Northamptonshire Police faces a challenging future, the force understands the issues it faces and continues to take positive steps to achieve savings while keeping its communities safe.
Northamptonshire is on track to achieve its required savings of £22.9m over the spending review period. It has plans in place to achieve further savings in 2015/16. The force faces a particular challenge because it already spends little and so there are fewer opportunities to reduce further its costs.
The force has detailed plans to meet the savings required in 2014/15 and will, over the spending review period, exceed the amount it needs to save. This has been managed by over-achievement on savings targets and by annual under-spends in its budget. The force has assessed the financial issues it faces and has now put in place a change programme together with supporting plans to restructure the organisation and achieve the required savings.
The force has looked at the period beyond 2016 and is developing plans which will enable it to provide policing within its future projected budget. This is largely dependent on maintaining its own local policing but working collaboratively with others in specialist policing functions, functions that support operational policing and business support.
To what extent is the force efficient?
Northamptonshire Police uses a variety of tools and approaches to identify demand, and takes into account the need to meet new demand such as cyber-crime. The police and crime commissioner has established the Public Safety, Crime and Justice Institute with the University of Northampton which will, in the future, look to establish other ways to manage demand as well as developing evidence-based approaches to more effective policing. The force has achieved an improved recorded crime performance in comparison with last year and has achieved a 12 percent reduction over the 12 months to March 2014, which is higher than other forces. Over the same period victim satisfaction has increased and is higher than in other forces.
To what extent is the force taking steps to ensure a secure financial position for the short and long term?
Northamptonshire Police has an established track record of achieving its savings targets. The force has developed savings plans for 2014/15 and 2015/16; these are realistic and achievable. Although there is a small projected deficit of £0.3m in 2015/16 this is not a cause for concern and the force is confident that it will close the gap. The force has assumed a period of continuing austerity and is developing plans up to 2018/19.
To what extent has the force got an affordable way of providing policing?
Northamptonshire Police has well-established collaborative arrangements in place with other forces, which have already resulted in considerable savings. The force has plans to engage in further collaboration within the region. The force is also pursuing collaboration with Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service and looking how the two organisations can practically work more closely in frontline service provision. Key to enabling the force to have sufficient staff to meet demand is through the use of the special constabulary and volunteers. An ambitious recruitment programme for specials will see numbers increase significantly over the spending review.