Merseyside PEEL 2014
How well the force delivers value for money
Merseyside Police has made good progress and is well placed to respond to further austerity in the future.
Merseyside is not only on track to meet its financial challenge from the spending review period but also for the following financial year of 2015/16. Importantly, the force is also looking beyond this period and is planning now for further funding reductions and future financial pressures. Overall, the force understands the issues facing it, and has a comprehensive and well-managed change programme in place to achieve the savings required, while minimising as far as possible the impact on frontline policing. HMIC was reassured by the level of detail that underpins Merseyside’s saving plans and by the leadership team’s ability and determination to make changes while fighting crime and keeping its communities safe.
To what extent is the force efficient?
During the course of its change programme, Merseyside Police reviewed demand across the local policing functions of response, neighbourhood policing and local crime investigation.
Work is also being undertaken to understand the demand flow within the force contact centre.
From this review the force was able to put in place a way of ensuring that its resources – the people, the technology, and the vehicles, for example – are allocated to exactly where they need to be to achieve the best results.
The force is improving its response to calls from the public, has reduced recorded crime over the spending review and victims report higher levels of satisfaction in comparison to other forces.
To what extent is the force taking steps to ensure a secure financial position for the short and long term?
Merseyside Police has clear plans to achieve its savings requirement of £18.0m in 2014/15 and £21.7m in 2015/16.
The force already has a strong track record of achieving the savings it has planned to make. For 2013/14, the force achieved savings over its target by a considerable margin.
The force’s plans for 2016/17 and beyond are less well developed but it has an agreed timeline for developing and refining these plans. It is likely that the savings needed can be achieved.
To what extent has the force got an affordable way of providing policing?
The way Merseyside Police works has supported the early achievement of savings for the spending review period without any significant reorganisation.
In January 2010, the force reviewed its business support functions and staff; this resulted in savings of £26.7m. This has enabled the force to defer any further significant reorganisation until after the spending review.
The force has achieved the bulk of the required savings through reducing its pay costs, and while there has been no specific plan to achieve savings from non-pay costs, savings have resulted from renegotiating cleaning contracts and from the centralisation of custody arrangements. The force plans to find more non-pay savings from procurement and estates specifically.