Headlines: June 12th, 2009

People in England and Wales are not getting good value for money from their local police forces according to a report which calls on forces to rethink radically the way they operate. Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary, Denis O’Connor, said members of the public were not getting a good deal in terms of crime fighting and financial efficiency.

In the report, ‘Getting Together’, he said forces with the most effective joint working arrangements across traditional boundaries had the best results in dealing with organised crime. HMIC found that those forces mounted full-scale operations against four times as many crime gangs compared with forces that did not collaborate.

The report also reveals that some forces and police authorities are spending more than twice as much on human resources than others and that average spending in this area by forces is above that in the rest of the public sector. Similar variations in costs were found in finance services.

Mr O’Connor said: “We’ve found that forces and authorities support the idea of collaboration in principle but find the practice harder. That needs to change. The fact is that joined-up working is a win-win situation. It’s more effective against organised crime and, in areas of finance, it avoids duplication and creates savings that can be ploughed back into front-line policing.”

‘Getting Together’ recommends a robust, transparent, market-style system to help police forces overcome barriers to working together. A new ‘Informed Choice Model’ will be introducesd to give senior officers and authorities information on costs and risks and where they can find the best option for the public by collaboration or other means. Forces will have to detail their collaborative work in annual reports.