West Yorkshire Police Authority and Force has: `detailed plans in place’ to meet the Government’s almost £100 million pound funding gap over a four year period according to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) in a report published today (Thursday 21 July) .
In their report: `Valuing the Police Preparedness‘ HMIC Inspectors looked at how well prepared each of the 43 police authority’s and forces across England and Wales were to meet: `the biggest financial challenge in a generation’ facing the police service. And, in a separate report `Adapting to Austerity,’ West Yorkshire is named as one of 17 Force’s which had already: “identified how they would make, or exceed, the savings they needed in each of the four years, with no financial gap.”
According to the Inspection report, West Yorkshire Police and the Police Authority’s plans to achieve an identified £81 million savings over four years: `is detailed and provides a degree of confidence that the required savings will be made’. However, the latest budget estimates indicate that closer to £100 million will have to be found.’
The Report, which studied the plans in place to meet the financial challenges and the impact they may have on public services, found that West Yorkshire:
• Understands the scale of financial challenge
• Has considered a full range of options
• Produced a four year strategy which includes annual milestones for savings
• Has detailed plans for how and when these will be met
• Monitors progress via clear governance arrangements
The report added that the Force and Police Authority had consulted the public on their policing priorities and were committed to maintaining front-line services, neighbourhood policing and protecting the public from serious harm. The Inspectors’ say that the Force was: `aware that there is potential for the cuts to impact upon service it delivers,’ and is taking steps to ensure that front line officers do not incur `too many’ extra duties. .
Commenting on the report Deputy Chief Constable David Crompton said: “I am pleased that HMIC has recognised the work the force is doing with the Police Authority to meet this level of savings.
“Nobody should underestimate the size of the challenge we face. Saving nearly £100m in the next four years will not be accomplished easily. Nevertheless, we are fully aware that the public want us to maintain neighbourhood policing, front-line patrol and to protect them from serious harm and these are our top priorities”.
Chair of the Police Authority Councillor Mark Burns-Williamson added: “It is testimony to the Police Authority and Force that HMIC Inspectors have recognised the efforts made to respond to the massive cut in government funding in this and the next three years.
“West Yorkshire Police is having to find approximately £100 million savings on latest estimates between now and 2014/15, roughly two thirds of that in this and next year. A lot of work has had to be done to put plans in place to achieve the savings whilst sticking to our aim of minimising the impact on the public wherever possible….but this is work in progress as the scale of financial challenge is unprecedented.
“A lot of time in various Police Authority budget and resource meetings is now being spent monitoring what has been put in place to make sure that the plans are delivering what we intended and refining the schemes for the later years. We are also closely monitoring performance to make sure that front-line staff are still able to deliver the service which continues to meet the needs of our communities. I pay tribute to how the Force has coped with this so far in very difficult circumstances”