West Midlands PEEL 2014
How well the force delivers value for money
West Midlands Police has made excellent progress during challenging financial circumstances and has innovative plans to manage further austerity in the future.
West Midlands Police is on track to meet its financial challenge for the spending review period and also for the following financial year of 2015/16. Importantly, the force is also looking beyond this period and has ambitious plans for an innovation and integration partnership that will enable the force to provide policing within the restrictions of 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. HMIC was reassured by the level of detail that underpins West Midlands’ saving plans. It was also reassured by the leadership team’s ability and determination to make future changes in partnership with a private sector innovation partner, while fighting crime and keeping its communities safe. HMIC’s assessment is that the force is achieving the savings required currently, while planning for the future.
To what extent is the force efficient?
West Midlands Police has carried out detailed analysis to understand demand, costs and the service levels required. More detailed analysis is planned when the innovation and integration partnership is implemented.
The force places a strong focus on preventive policing and intervenes early to stop crimes and incidents occurring.
Although the force’s IT has been adapted to meet its requirements, it needs updating. This will be a major part of the innovative and integration partnership.
Over the spending review period the force has achieved a greater reduction in crime than the figure for England and Wales. The last 12 months has seen an increase in crime in comparison to an overall reduction in England and Wales.
To what extent is the force taking steps to ensure a secure financial position for the short and long term?
West Midlands Police has ambitious plans for future arrangements to achieve longer-term savings.
It has clear plans in place to achieve £36m of the £47m savings required in 2014/15 and £24m of the £32m required in 2015/16 through planned savings, including the use of reserves to close any gaps.
There has been a conscious decision to use reserves that have built up over the last few years, including an underspend of £7m in 2013/14. In light of the challenge faced, the force has made a robust response to the funding challenge and will achieve the savings.
The force is pursuing an ambitious and innovative initiative working with the private sector to explore how policing services could be provided.
To what extent has the force got an affordable way of providing policing?
The way West Midlands Police currently works and polices the area has supported the achievement of savings successfully for the spending review period.
The first six months of its innovation and integration partnership will be devoted to developing a new way for the force to provide policing in the future.
The force has forecast workforce numbers through to 2020 to ensure that the future workforce will be affordable and it has modelled the profile of the future workforce to match policing requirements.
To date, the force had achieved most of the required savings through reducing its pay costs, and although non-pay costs per head of population are already lower than for most forces, the force continues to reduce these costs.