Constabulary continues good financial management and value for money despite unique challenges
A recent report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabularies (HMIC) states that Hertfordshire Constabulary has made good progress in meeting its financial challenge.

The report says: “Hertfordshire Constabulary has impressive and well-established joint working arrangements with Bedfordshire Police and Cambridgeshire Constabulary. The force is very well placed to be able to continue to provide an effective service to the public while reducing its costs further.”

Also the report found that:

• The force was is on track to achieve its required savings of £35.8m over the spending review period and will deliver a balanced budget for 2014/15 with the planned use of reserves;

• Hertfordshire Constabulary  is aware of the need to support staff through a period of major change and is using good communications and the visibility of senior leaders to help achieve this;

• The force has developed impressive collaboration plans with Bedfordshire Police and Cambridgeshire Constabulary to improve efficiency and make savings and has improved performance, with reductions in crime and a higher percentage of victims satisfied with the service they received than for most other forces in England and Wales.

Chief Constable Andy Bliss said:  “This is an excellent report that reflects the hard work and dedication of all of my officers and staff who have risen to the challenge of meeting rising demand with fewer resources.  In addition, the budget managers and our own Finance Department have been particularly attentive to ensuring that crime fighting activities and services to victims are protected wherever possible and that savings come from improved efficiencies, such as the introduction of mobile data and more effective work processes.”

Police and Crime Commissioner for Hertfordshire, David Lloyd, welcomed the findings of HMIC’s report. He said: “I am delighted that we were given this expected clean bill of health from HMIC with regards to the Constabulary’s finances. This is in no small part due to the chief officers’ diligent planning and excellent management in delivering my Police and Crime Plan for Hertfordshire, Everybody’s Business.

“At the same time as being on track to meet the required savings over the next few years, there has been no dip in police performance and those vital frontline, public-facing Neighbourhood Policing teams have been protected.

“On top of that, I did not have to increase the police portion of Hertfordshire’s council tax bills for 2104/15 which must have been a relief for many hard-working taxpayers, many of whom are facing the same tightening of budgets as the public sector is currently managing.

“I am very pleased to see that HMIC has recognised our robust yet realistic forward planning whilst acknowledging that Hertfordshire faces a unique challenge in already having the lowest spend on policing per head of population than any other force in England and Wales.”

He added: “Further savings will be focussed on several measures including collaboration with Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire police forces and Programme Metis, which will enable technology to streamline police processes and improve our quality of service. The collaboration of support functions will allow all three forces to protect their frontline and locally-delivered services – this has to be the best way to ensure the people of Hertfordshire continue to have the high-performing police force that they deserve.”