#031/2013 – Focus must be maintained to preserve ‘ahead of its time’ East Midlands force collaboration

The collaboration arrangement between police forces in the East Midlands has generated savings, and been effective in helping the forces tackle serious and organised crime, a review by HMIC finds.

The review was conducted following a commission from the Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) for Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Nottinghamshire. They asked HMIC to review the arrangements for collaboration between the five forces, and to provide the PCCs with high-level assurance on the overall approach to collaboration in the region.

The five forces have been collaborating since 2002, when the East Midlands Special Operations Unit (EMSOU) was established. Originally involving only three forces, and with a fairly narrow focus, it has since expanded to include all five forces in the region, as well as five major areas of policing.

HMIC found that the arrangements for collaboration in the East Midlands have a number of strengths. For instance, they have resulted in a better policing service for the people of the East Midlands (because forces have increased resilience in some important areas of policing, such as tackling serious and organised crime). They have also produced an average saving of 20% (when the costs of functions before and after collaboration are compared).

The region is developing its plans for future collaboration activity; but HMIC has identified that these currently leave out some important details. To ensure the highly successful East Midlands collaboration arrangements continue to develop and expand, the five PCCs and forces should agree a shared vision for how they will work together in the future. They should also ensure that these plans will not be hindered by some of the underlying differences in the way the forces operate and are organised. The report makes a number of recommendations to this effect.

HM Inspector of Constabulary for the Eastern Region, Zoë Billingham, said:

“The five forces in the East Midlands should be commended for the vision and strong leadership they have displayed in establishing this collaboration programme, which was ahead of its time and an example to others. The region was the first to increase capabilities in critical operational areas through joint working, and our review of the arrangements has found that collaboration has led to safer communities and a better policing service – all at a lower cost (by an average of 20%) than if the forces were working independently.

“We encourage PCCs and forces to consider how the good work to date can be further enhanced and developed. It is imperative this arrangement is preserved, and we make a number of recommendations to ensure that it keeps delivering benefits to the public in the East Midlands.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

  1. A copy of the full report, ‘Working Together: A review of the arrangements for collaboration between the five East Midlands police forces’, commissioned by the police and crime commissioners for the region, can be found at www.hmic.gov.uk
  2. HMIC’s review focused on three questions:
    • how efficient and effective are the current collaboration arrangements – in particular, in relation to the capacity and capability of the arrangements for major crime and serious and organised crime?
    • are the current or emerging proposals for regional collaboration realistic in terms of benefits, and have all options been appropriately assessed? and
    • what are the future opportunities for collaboration?
  3. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) is an independent inspectorate, inspecting policing in the public interest, and rigorously examines the efficiency and effectiveness of police forces to tackle crime and terrorism, improve criminal justice and raise confidence. HMIC inspects all 43 police forces in England and Wales together with other major policing bodies.
  4. For further information, HMIC’s press office can be contacted during office hours from 8:30am – 5:30pm Monday – Friday on 0203 513 0600.
  5. HMIC’s out-of-hours press office line for urgent media enquiries is 07836 217 729.