As demand for the police service rises and Government funding falls Lancashire's Police and Crime Commissioner has welcomed the 'good' grading from national policing inspectors. The report recognises Lancashire Constabulary as one of the more efficient forces in the country in the way it keeps people safe and tackles crime.
The PEEL efficiency report published today by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) shows that the force is facing an increasing and more complex demand, recording more 999 calls per 1,000 head of the population than previous years, and handling more reports of victim-based crimes.
Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire's Police and Crime Commissioner said: "I'm pleased that this report has rightly praised Lancashire Constabulary once again for the way they use diminishing resources to protect those who live and work here. This continues our strong track record over a number of years as being one of the most efficient in the country."
The report, which grades all forces across England and Wales, also shows that Lancashire Constabulary is having to tackle issues like people going through mental health crises and improve its understanding of emerging issues like modern slavery and human trafficking.
Mr Grunshaw added, "With the changing nature of crime we continue to invest in ways to meet these challenges. I am delighted that Inspectors have recognised the work of the police here in Lancashire to deal with increasingly complex issues. Despite this, the public can have confidence that, whatever resources the police do receive, these are spent well and represent good value for residents.
"This has to be seen in the context of annual reductions in Government funding. Despite promises to protect our budgets in 2015 we are now £3.5 million a year worse off. The simple truth is that the Government continues to reduce the amount it gives to policing in Lancashire even as calls to 101 and 999 show the demand from the public is rising."
Commenting on the report, Chief Constable Andy Rhodes said: “We welcome the report which shows that we have a good understanding of our current and future demand and are using our resources as efficiently as possible to provide a good service to the public of Lancashire and keep people safe.
“I am pleased that Inspectors have recognised the good work being done to help improve our services and put victims at the centre of everything we do, including planned changes to call handling and the way we work with partners to safeguard some of our most vulnerable victims.
“I was also pleased to see recognition for some of the work we are doing to pave the way for the future. Our determination to recruit the right skills, to invest in mobile technology and innovations like our new Forensic Academy and the Lancashire Volunteer Partnership were all used as examples of how we are planning for the future to help ensure we can meet demand.”
He concluded: “What this report shows is that we are an efficient force, with a good understanding of our demand, strong partnerships with local authorities and other agencies and a very real determination to deliver the most efficient service we can with the resources we have.
“However, with policing getting ever more complex and calls taking a third longer to deal with, our plans for the future will require investment and in common with other forces, finances remain a very firm challenge for us.”
HM Inspector of Constabulary Mike Cunningham said:
“Lancashire Constabulary continues to be assessed as ‘good’ in the ways it matches the demand on its service with the skills of its people, and in its financial planning.
“In the last year, Lancashire Constabulary has improved its understanding of more complex demand for its services, building upon its existing management of demand by working with partner organisations and identifying inefficiencies and duplication of effort. The force is good at matching its resources to its priorities, resulting in co-ordinated support to communities and individuals most in need.
“The force has prudent financial plans in place to meet future funding challenges and a well-considered programme of investment to ensure it can adapt in providing services.
“I commend Lancashire Constabulary for its solid performance and hope to see it build upon that in the next year.”
The full report will be available from the HMICFRS website - https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmicfrs/