Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Lancashire Police Authority - Viewpoint March

I thought I would publish this months as it focuses on the reckless Police cuts the  Tories have imposed and the Police Reform Bill.


Dear Colleague

Welcome to this edition of Viewpoint, which, like us, is firmly focused on finance and how performance is being protected despite reductions in police funding.

Malcolm Doherty
Councillor Malcolm Doherty OBE Councillor Geoff Roper
Geoff Roper
Chair of Lancashire Police Authority Vice Chair of Lancashire Police Authority

Savings -

Over £38million of savings has already been identified as we strive to save £41.76million from the Constabulary’s budget by 2014/15.

We are also confident that the Chief Constable can find the additional £4million required to meet the target, whilst working hard to limit the impact the cuts will have on the service provided to the public. Every aspect of the Constabulary’s business is under review. Over 60 areas are being examined, with a clear strategic view of how the whole programme operates and we are focussing on taking the opportunity to bring real transformational change to an already excellent service.

Both the Authority and the Force are clear that wherever possible cuts will be made in support functions and not from front-line policing. The reductions will come in over the four years up to March 2015, not in one big bang.

We have always been clear that there will be changes in the way policing is delivered in order to meet the savings target, but our priority remains the safety of local residents and the delivery of the best possible police service for Lancashire residents.

What the cuts means in terms of our employees

When the cuts were first announced, the Chief Constable was quoted as saying that the Constabulary may have to lose 1000 posts, but now we believe that this is more likely to be in the region of 800 with a split of about two thirds police officers and a third police staff. We anticipate that around 160 officer posts will come from what we call frontline posts which are visible to the public. The others will be taken from the back office or operational support functions.

Since the review process started in 2008/09, we have kept redundancies low by managing the recruitment and redeployment processes.

Police Performance doesn’t miss a beat

Between April and January, the force has achieved sweeping performance improvements, with the number of crimes overall continuing to fall by -3.8% and detections remaining among the highest in the country.

We are pleased that the Home Secretary has approved the extension of Chief Constable Steve Finnigan’s contract for a further three years, to make sure that the Constabulary maintains continuity and solid direction in the challenging times ahead.

Performance figures presented to the police authority by the Chief Constable showed how the force improved between April 2010 and January 2011.

Vehicle Crime saw the largest reduction at -7.4%, followed by Serious Acquisitive Crime at -5.1%, Assault with Less Serious Injury at -4.6%, All Robbery at -2.4%, Burglary Dwelling at 0.9% and All Violent Crime at -0.5%.
Lancashire people are also reporting increases in satisfaction levels in the 12 months to December 2010 compared to the same period the previous year.

Police Reform Bill – What do Lancashire People think?

The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill, is currently proceeding through Parliament The Bill has now been considered by the cross-party Public Bill Committee which has come back with 646 possible amendments. Lancashire Police Authority made a considered submission to the Committee which you can see here http://www.lancspa.gov.uk/news/?ctid=200&edid=3049&catid

A nationwide poll published in the London Evening Standard showed that little more than 25% of the public support the concept of costly elections for Police Commissioners. The poll, of 1,508 people, also revealed that the public's priority remains lower crime - yet only 15% of people think electing Police Commissioners will help cut crime.

Our focus group research in Lancashire showed that residents were concerned about:

The lack of checks and balances in relation to community representation within the proposed structure – especially in relation to the makeup of the police and crime panel:

· Key to feedback was the need for representation from Lancashire's diverse communities with the suggestion that this is done via the Police and Crime Panel – in essence the PCP being a consultative body to the public consisting of magistrates, counsellors, MPs, independent public members

Great deal of concern from majority about the potential of politics being brought into policing:

· The majority of respondents had a very cynical view of the ‘direct election’ process and an expected view that candidates would be making "false promises" in order to get votes, would be funded by those with a vested interest in the outcome of the elections and would exclude the ‘man on the street’

· Most respondents drew on their experience of previous ‘direct elections’ from the political arena and large numbers felt as a result of this that people wouldn't be likely to vote.

Representation:

· Strong belief that no one person could be representative of whole population of the County.

· People see the County as being very diverse, in terms of both cultural and geographical diversities. Respondents felt that understanding the geographical and people interests in the whole County wasn’t likely.

We still have reservations about how the Bill in its current form will improve services in Lancashire.

Weds 30th and Thurs 31st of March have been named as the likely dates for COMBINED Report Stage and 3rd Reading of The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill which will then proceed to the Hose of Lords. Lancashire Police Authority will carry on working to influence positive amendments to the Bill as it progresses through Parliamentary process to ensure the best possible outcome for the accountability of policing in Lancashire.

Do you Tweet? Follow us and our thoughts on Twitter @LancsPA

You can also find a lot of information about our work on our website www.lancspa.gov.uk

Miranda Carruthers-Watt
Chief Executive
Lancashire Police Authority
Tel: 01772 533699
Mob: 07780 684 262

E-mail: miranda.carruthers-watt@lancashire.gov.uk
Website: www.lancspa.gov.uk
www.getintheloop.co.uk
Twitter @LancsPA


Awards
Association of Police Authorities 2010:
* Winner- Community Engagement Award
* Winner – Innovation Award

British Association of Communicators in Business Awards 2010
Institute of Internal Communications 2010
Member Development Charter