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Where Are All The Police? – An Analysis of Police Resources Leadership Dilemma

Forces need leaders with the courage to drive the organisational changes needed to make savings from a transformational approach. Less than a third of chief constables identify leadership skills as important in achieving savings. Leadership is essential to delivering transformational change. This is a barrier to forces meeting the challenge of getting better value for money. Track records so far suggest that some serious due diligence is needed to establish if the senior officers have what it takes to manage their forces through austerity.

Delivering better value for money requires a realistic appreciation of what lies ahead in the future, in other words a clarity of vision. Police leaders need to plan for major change, take tough decisions to deliver savings alongside maintained or improved performance. They can use comparative information to question the way they do things and help them find savings. Some savings take time to deliver and forces and authorities will need courage to implement them, especially those that change the workforce and working practices.

But the risk of not taking a transformational approach to savings is high. It could result in immediate cuts in service when funding reduces with little room for manoeuvre or informed decision making.

HMIC and the Audit Commission reports challenge the police service to make savings of up to £1 billion, as variation in costs suggests that there is significant scope. Forces and authorities should use the evidence in the reports to test their own arrangements for delivering better value for money in the specific areas of workforce mix; shift patterns; overtime; management overheads; productivity; procurement; back office; and collaboration. Making significant savings is not easy. The two reports, along with others containing similar suggestions discuss barriers to overcome and suggested solutions.


Taking into account the findings of the HMIC, the Audit Commission, observations from ACPO, APA, the Home Office and most importantly, those with the most informed and valued opinion, the frontline officers who are responsible for delivering the quality of policing, some serious questions must be addressed urgently.

In one sense, UK Police PLC is very much like a national a private sector business, with you and I, the tax paying public as its shareholders. As such the concept of locally elected police commissioners would seem to have strong merits in its favour. In its present form, based on the track record of the decision makers, influenced by the previous Government over the last 10-15 years, we must question if the service is fit for purpose. Millions, if not billions of tax payers money has been squandered and misspent on knee jerk, poorly thought out, ‘flight of fancy’ projects, distracting the real operational police officers from the important job at hand.

Financially motivated and profligate senior officers have conducted deceitful practices that MUST not be overlooked when key decisions are being made regarding the future of British policing. In the private sector, if there is any hint of such conduct by senior decision makers they are removed from office or at the very least, the system is restructured to safeguard the future interests of the shareholders. The police service belongs to every one of us who pay taxes and we are owed the same degree of assurances that our money will be best spent and that forces will be managed by competent, honest management teams committed to delivering best service at value for money. It should not be they who determine whether they are reaching those standards of excellence. If a consumer is dissatisfied with a private sector company, they simply go elsewhere. We do not have that choice. As such, it is essential that there is a


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