Commissioner tells police leaders to collaborate rather than merge
Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd has told a group of police leaders from across the country that collaboration is the best way for forces to improve their services while meeting continuing financial challenges.
Speaking at the Police Strategy Forum yesterday (Wednesday 26th November), the Commissioner said that forces had to find new and innovative solutions in the face of funding cuts from central government.
However he said that collaborating units or services between police forces was preferable to other options such as full mergers, which would threaten a force’s ability to reflect local needs and priorities.
“Austerity 1 has bitten with 20 per cent in real term reductions in grant funding over the five-year comprehensive spending review period,” he told the audience of Chief Constables and Police and Crime Commissioners from forces up and down the country.
“For Hertfordshire this equates to finding net savings of £32million and a relentless drive for efficiencies and to do more for less, whilst giving the local people of Hertfordshire protection from harm and value for money.
“It's no longer a matter of trimming here or there – the fat in the system is long gone. Instead we are faced with looking for radical, transformational change which can deliver better policing at lower cost.
“We have to adapt our policing models to meet these changing and growing demands and seize the opportunity to think creatively and innovatively. There can no longer be business as usual.”
He added: “By merging we wouldn’t have been able to retain dedicated local neighbourhood policing teams and tailor local priorities and styles of delivery to the needs of Hertfordshire residents.
“By collaborating we’ve been able to achieve all the benefits of merging – economies of scale, improved efficiency and resilience, and not threaten localism, delivering services to the communities of Hertfordshire in partnership with locally based agencies.”
Commissioner Lloyd represents the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners on the Emergency Services Collaboration Working Group, which his office also oversees.
This group has received government funding and is made up of senior representatives from all the blue light services.
It is the lead national group on blue light collaboration and its aim is to share experience and best practice in order to support future collaboration or integration projects.