North Yorkshire Police has made good progress in achieving its savings for the comprehensive spending review period.
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has today published a report on North Yorkshire Police’s progress in meeting the challenges of the 2010 comprehensive spending review.
Based on the data provided by the force, HMIC found that:
- North Yorkshire Police needs to save £19 million between March 2011 and March 2015. By spring 2012 they had planned how to save 86% of this amount.
- The force is planning to cut its total workforce number (i.e. police officers, police staff and police community support officers) by 390 between March 2010 and March 2015.
- 170 of these will be police officer posts; this means there will be 11% fewer officers in North Yorkshire (compared with a 10% average officer reduction across England and Wales).
- By 2015, 73% of its workforce will be in the frontline. This is broadly in line with England and Wales as a whole.
- The proportion of officers in frontline roles will increase between March 2010 and March 2015 (from 88% to 91%) This means North Yorkshire Police will have a greater proportion of police officers on the front line than most other forces.
- Crime is decreasing in North Yorkshire at a rate in line with the rest of England and Wales as a whole.
- 87% of victims in North Yorkshire were satisfied with the service from North Yorkshire Police, which is higher than the national figure.
HM Inspector of Constabulary for the Northern Region, Roger Baker, said:
North Yorkshire Police has put in place a comprehensive change programme to manage the reductions in its budget. As a result they are in a good position to achieve their savings target by March 2015, and may even exceed it.
Although the force is cutting police officer posts, it will have 91% of its officers in frontline policing roles by 2015. This is a higher proportion than most other forces,
and will help North Yorkshire Police continue to reduce crime and keep the public safe.
The full report for North Yorkshire Police, along with the national thematic review ‘Policing in austerity: One year on’, can be found at www.hmic.gov.uk
The HMIC report confirms that North Yorkshire Police is fighting fit having undergone the single, most significant re-organisation in its history to meet the funding challenges that we were presented with in October 2010.
I am extremely proud of everyone connected to the force who have worked so hard under very difficult circumstances during this transformation period.
That we managed to maintain and, indeed, improve performance in cutting crime and anti-social behaviour, is testament to the high level of service our officers, police staff and partners deliver to the people of North Yorkshire and the City of York.
The change process was necessary to ensure that North Yorkshire Police continues to provide excellent value for money and a secure a stable financial future
We have achieved this by reducing costs in our administrative and back office functions, whilst continuing to invest in high-calibre officers and staff who interact directly with the public.
We will, of course, guard against any hint of complacency. We are constantly seeking improvements to become ever more effective and efficient in how we deliver a high-level of service to our communities.
Councillor Jane Kenyon, Chairman of North Yorkshire Police Authority (NYPA), said
The challenge posed to NYPA and the force by the Government for the period to 2014 was to reduce expenditure quite dramatically but at the same time maintain and, if possible, improve performance.
The Authority is delighted that Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary has recognised that the Authority, the Chief Constable and all staff of North Yorkshire Police are succeeding in meeting that challenge. It is particularly pleasing that, despite considerable organisational reorganisation, our staff have remained focussed on serving our community to the best of their ability, achieving a hugely impressive reduction in overall crime of almost 9% last year.
We are proud that North Yorkshire remains one of the safest areas in England and Wales to live.
Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) lead for performance management, Chief Constable Steve Finnigan, said:
The police service must close a funding gap of £2.5 billion in today’s prices over the 4 year Comprehensive Spending Review period. Chief Officers have been preparing for these cuts and there are plans in place across all forces to address this huge challenge for the service.
This report shows that during the first year of these cuts, we have been able to continue to reduce crime and increase public confidence in policing. Maintaining this performance will become more difficult as the period progresses. In a service where 80% of our budgets are spent on pay, we will continue to see reductions in police officer and police staff numbers across the country, and all forces will work very hard to mitigate the impact of such significant reductions in the number of our people.
Chief Officers will continue to invest in areas where the threat to the public is greatest, though not always visible to the public; such as managing sex offenders and tacking serious crime. In other areas we are becoming more flexible in the way we deliver critical services such as neighbourhood policing, local response teams and investigative work, but we will also want to do all we can to retain those elements of British Policing that are most cherished by our communities.
From November, locally elected Police and Crime Commissioners will want to have detailed conversations with chief officers and the public about what should be prioritised within the available resources. There is a determination among chief officers and across policing to continue to meet the challenge of delivering the best possible policing services to the public.
Responding to the release HMIC follow-up report, Mark Botham chairman of North Yorkshire Police Federation said:
At a time when a study conducted by the LSE/Guardian shows officers fear a repeat of last year’s riots there is no comfort in these findings. This last weekend we have seen over 80 North Yorkshire officers deployed to assist their colleagues in West Yorkshire to police an EDL march. This is not sustainable without denuding the service provided to the residents of North Yorkshire and the City of York.
We note that the HMIC report makes clear on page 6 that in North Yorkshire there will be an 11% reduction in police officer posts, compared with a 10% reduction across England and Wales.
The report does not mention that in North Yorkshire the number of police staff increased by 158% between 2000 and 2009, compared to 12% for police officers during the same period. The increase in police staff was the highest in England and Wales, whilst the increase in police officer numbers was below the national average of 16%. www.nypolfed.org.uk/assets/uploads/PDFs/Staffing_levels.doc
Page 7 of the HMIC report states that the number of officers working on the front line will drop from 1,310 in March 2010 to an estimated 1,200 by March 2015. The report does not acknowledge that In 2007 there were 1654 police officers in North Yorkshire. This reduction of 454 police officers is equivalent to leaving the whole of Whitby, Scarborough and Filey without any police officers. It equates to an overall reduction between 2007 and 2015 of over 27%.
We note that the Association of Chief Police Officers have commented that maintaining performance will become more difficult in light of the 20% cuts. And that HMIC are already reporting three police forces may not be able to provide a proper service because of the impact of budget cuts.
We don’t want North Yorkshire Police to be added to that number.
There will be consequences to cutting such large numbers of officers. We are concerned that publicly accountable policing will be lost and replaced by mass privatised policing as forecast recently by the head of G4S.
But we are equally concerned about the impact of the cuts on the public. Only 2 weeks ago HMIC found that staff of all ranks are regularly taken off their local duties and put in other areas: but the force does not monitor this, or work to limit it.
We wonder what the public think about that and whether we will be able to sustain a victim satisfaction rate of 87% when our numbers are so denuded and we close 2 more front counters. The public will see a reduced service as we cut police officers numbers by more than the national average from a starting point which was already below the national average.
We have consistently warned of the consequences of the cuts in policing and the lack of public consultation on them. Our members are fearful for the safety of the public and for themselves. This cannot continue.