STAFFORDSHIRE’S Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis has welcomed an analysis by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) that says policing in Tamworth in good financial shape despite significantly reducing budgets.
HMIC’s Efficiency Report says Staffordshire Police is ‘Good’ overall and ‘Good’ in all three categories which cover the use of resources, affordability and financial prospects.
Mr Ellis said the mix of expertise in the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) and Staffordshire Police, along with effective joint working between them means the finances are now in decent shape.
“I’ve said from the start that it’s not just about how much money is spent on public services but how well it is spent. Yes it’s tight, but it’s about using public money more effectively, not simply asking for more all the time.
“We’re just under half way through the strategy that will ensure policing has the right tools for the job. From mobile technology that will keep officers out and about in communities for an extra 250k hours each year, to new state-of-the-art strategic ICT to provide police here with intelligence supremacy over criminals and those who want to cause harm.
“It’s also about fit for purpose everyday things like estates, vehicles and kit while driving better joined up working across multiple agencies so that officers and other public services can deal with the challenges they have each and every working day across our county.
“And despite less money coming from central Government I’ll still stick firmly to my principle of the last three years that until every pound is spent as effectively as it can be, I won’t ask local people for more money through council tax.
“There are still big challenges ahead and absolutely no room for complacency so it’s steady as she goes. That’s reflected well in the HMIC report and is one of the key reasons why policing across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent is well placed to meet the changing face of crime in a tough financial environment.”
Deputy Chief Constable Nick Baker, from Staffordshire Police, said: “We welcome the findings of the HMIC report which recognises that we are making good progress in understanding how we can best use our resources to meet future demand.
“The force must plan for further reductions in funding whilst achieving increased proficiency. This is no easy task but I’m confident that our ongoing planning work with the Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Ellis, will allow us to maintain a sustainable workforce and continue to provide an excellent service to our communities.
“There is a significant amount of work being undertaken to understand how demand is shifting and how our resources must be realigned to meet these needs. For example, we recently took steps to accelerate digital forensics to tackle online child exploitation and we recognise the need for officers with specialist skillsets.
“IT plays a big part in our continuous innovation and the force understands that we must invest in technology in order to improve efficiency and diminish bureaucracy.
“We recognise that the organisation is in a state of change but we remain committed to protecting the communities of Staffordshire Police.”