Kent PEEL 2014
How well the force delivers value for money
Kent Police has responded well to the financial challenge of the spending review. Importantly, the force is planning for the long term by taking the necessary steps today so it is ready to meet future funding challenges in this era of ongoing austerity.
Kent is on track to achieve its required savings of £49.4m over this spending review period. It has plans in place to achieve further savings in 2015/16. Importantly, the force is also developing plans and options beyond this period, drawing on commercial expertise. It is preparing now, so that it will be best placed to manage further funding reductions and financial pressures in the future.
The force understands the issues facing it and has a comprehensive and very effective programme in place to achieve the savings and the organisational change required. It continues to evaluate how local policing is provided so that it remains affordable and meets the requirements of the police and crime commissioner’s police and crime plan.
The force has maintained its commitment to collaborating with others, in order to cut costs. Its joint work with Essex Police is especially noteworthy. There is strong leadership in the force and a real determination to achieve change while minimising reductions to frontline officers and improving the quality of the service to the public, which is entirely commendable.
To what extent is the force efficient?
Kent Police has seen an increase in recorded crime over the spending review, some of which is attributable to the change in the force’s crime-recording practices last year. Victim satisfaction is higher than with other forces. The force has a comprehensive understanding of demand and can show evidence for the steps it is taking to reduce the demands on its policing services. Through the use of its ‘pred pol’ programme the force directs patrols to areas where they will have the greatest impact in reducing crime. Its analysis of demand is being used to inform decisions about changes to the way local policing is provided.
To what extent is the force taking steps to ensure a secure financial position for the short and long term?
Kent Police achieved 94 percent of its savings for the spending review a year early. Savings of £20.8m required in 2015/16 will be met from planned savings and the use of reserves. The force’s savings plans prioritise expenditure to provide visible local policing and a more victim-focused service. The force is in a position to defer any decisions to reduce police officer numbers until there is more clarity as to its funding beyond 2015. The force has undertaken detailed scenario planning for the future and has developed options to achieve savings that are scalable to meet a variety of potential future funding challenges beyond 2016.
To what extent has the force got an affordable way of providing policing?
Kent Police has a sophisticated workforce model that meets its needs and will support the force’s change in approach to minimise frontline officer reductions. Collaboration with Essex Police has contributed to early achievement of the savings in this spending review period; future plans include further opportunities to work together. Kent continues to focus on achieving non-pay savings; through collaborated procurement it has identified £3.5m of savings. The force is committed to providing effective local policing and, over the spending review, the force will increase its proportion of frontline crime-fighting roles.