A report has praised the Chief Constable of Lincolnshire, while saying the force needs more money to maintain officer levels.
Chief Constable Neil Rhodes and Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Hardwick have welcomed the report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) which praises their approach to robust financial management.
The report also endorses their view that current Lincolnshire Police staffing levels cannot be sustained without additional funding being made available.
Mr Rhodes said: “We have long supported the reform of the current complex and opaque police funding formula that the Government is currently carrying out. We have actively and constructively informed the debate about the development of new arrangements which are needed to maintain acceptable standards of policing in Lincolnshire.”
Commenting on HMIC’s judgement that Lincolnshire Police requires improvement in terms of the sustainability of its financial position for the short and long term, Mr Hardwick said: “HMIC recognise that we cannot maintain officer numbers without more money. They also say, quite rightly, we have a high reliance on local funding. It is therefore essential that the new Home Office funding formula delivers a fairer, more transparent and sustainable model that will ensure better outcomes for Lincolnshire and communities across the Country.”
HMIC also observe Lincolnshire Police makes good use of its resources to meet demand. Inspectors cite examples such as the use of a mental health triage car that ensures more effective and safer support for vulnerable people. The report also recognises the well-established work taking place with local organisations to address safeguarding and prevention activity, for example by providing extra support and help to families and a co-located multi-agency team which prevents and investigates child sexual exploitation.
The report recognises that Lincolnshire Police’s outsourcing and collaboration arrangements save money and bring a more efficient approach. The collaboration between East Midlands police forces and Police and Crime Commissioners is deemed to be “notable and impressive” and that rather than seeking to reduce overall numbers of staff, the collaboration aims to free up officers’ time so that they can be redeployed to boost resilience in priority areas.
Similarly HMIC comment that the “well managed” contract with the private sector focuses not just on making financial savings, but also on supporting transformational change and continuous improvement.
But the Police and Crime Commissioner takes issue with HMIC’s judgement that the Force requires improvement in terms of how efficient it is at keeping people safe and reducing crime.
Mr Hardwick said: “Crime has continued to reduce, we have one of the highest workloads per officer and we remain the lowest cost police force of any in England and Wales. That looks like an efficient police force to me.”
Mr Rhodes added: “We have an approach that works in Lincolnshire; performance is very strong, costs are enviably low. In our last assessment HMIC judged us as ‘OUTSTANDING’ in terms of our provision of affordable policing. The focus is now on the Government to implement a fair financial settlement that will mean we can maintain it for many years to come.”