Durham PEEL 2014
How well the force delivers value for money
Durham Constabulary has made good progress and is well placed to manage further austerity in the future. It has achieved its savings ahead of schedule and is in a good position to face future challenges.
Durham has already achieved the savings it needed to make by March 2015 – twelve months in advance of the end of the spending review timetable. At this time, the force has clear plans in place to achieve all of the savings needed in 2014/15 and most of those in 2015/16. The plans for 2016/17 and beyond are less well developed, but there is an agreed timeline for developing and refining these plans; it is likely that the savings needed can be achieved. The force is now looking ahead and beginning to develop how it can make further savings, while investing to save in its estate and its use of technology, and also securing the future efficiency and effectiveness of the force. Overall, the force understands the issues facing it. The force uses a problem-solving approach in all of its activities. HMIC was reassured by leaders’ ability and determination to make changes while fighting crime and keeping communities safe.
To what extent is the force efficient?
The force carries out regular and comprehensive assessments of demand, threat, risk and harm. The force has a strong focus on preventing crime through a problem-solving approach. A wide range of contact methods is available to the public; Durham has also retained staff at all public enquiry counters. The force’s performance is mixed. Crime has fallen over the spending review period, but not by as much as elsewhere. In the last 12 months, there has been an increase in crime compared to a small decrease in England and Wales. However, the rate of detecting crimes is high, as is victim satisfaction with the force.
To what extent is the force taking steps to ensure a secure financial position for the short and long term?
Durham has clear plans in place to achieve all of the savings needed in 2014/15. It is likely that the savings needed for 2016/17 and beyond can be achieved, although plans are less well developed. It has a strong track record of achieving planned savings. In May 2014, it had already achieved the savings it needed to make by March 2015. It is now looking ahead and beginning to develop ways to make further savings, while investing to save in its estate and its use of technology, and securing the future efficiency and effectiveness of the force. The force has the capability, capacity and governance structures to achieve the required savings and organisational change.
To what extent has the force got an affordable way of providing policing?
The way the force has reorganised policing to the County Durham and Darlington areas has successfully supported the achievement of savings for the spending review, with a considerable reduction in its police officer numbers. However, it has protected frontline policing and increased the proportion of officers working on the front line. During the course of its change programme, the force reviewed demand across local policing. The way it allocates its resources as a result of that review means they are now used more effectively for neighbourhood policing. So far, it has achieved the bulk of the required savings through reducing pay costs. It has also reduced non-pay costs effectively.