A POSITIVE culture with an excellent understanding of the demand for its services and solid financial plans – those are the findings of the latest independent report into Northumbria Police.
Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) has carried out its annual assessment of how well police forces are managing finances and understanding demand.
Forces were assessed against the overarching question ‘How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?’ with four possible ratings available; ‘outstanding’, ‘good’, ‘requires improvement’ and ‘inadequate’.
Northumbria received a ‘Good’ rating overall.
In the three separate areas assessed at as part of the inspection, the force was rated ‘Good’ for understanding its demand, ‘Good’ for how well it uses its demand and ‘Good’ for how well the force is planning for the future.
The inspection found:
• Northumbria Police has an excellent understanding of the demand for its services and has well-developed processes to uncover demand that is less likely to be reported
• The force has recognised that demand for safeguarding vulnerable people has been increasing and has put extra resources into this area of policing
• The force works hard to evaluate current internal demand so that any inefficiencies can be quickly spotted and dealt with
• The leaders of Northumbria Police have created a culture in which the whole workforce feels that it can contribute ideas to improve the force. The force has created a very positive culture of openness
• The force is investing heavily in information technology. It recognises the opportunities and threats from changes in technology
• The financial plans for the force are detailed and it has solid plans for the future that have been tested and examined independently to ensure that they are fit for purpose
The inspection found that an area for improvement is for the Force to explore new ways to identify talent and ensure individuals reach their full potential.
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Dame Vera Baird QC said: “Despite all the financial challenges policing faces, I am delighted that our force has been recognised for providing an efficient and well-managed service.
“Neighbourhood policing is a priority of mine – I have worked closely with the Chief Constable to squeeze every penny out of every pound to ensure we protect it. Police officers are now closer to the communities they serve through the investment of new technology to keep officers engaging with local residents.
“To provide neighbourhood policing we need a fair funding settlement. The Chief Constable and I have made clear to the Home Secretary what is needed for Northumbria – she now needs to deliver.
“Finally, special thanks to all of our staff and officers who continue to go the extra mile, without them we could not achieve what we do.”
Temporary Chief Constable of Northumbria Police, Winton Keenen, added: “This report is welcome news and is testament to all the hard work done on a daily basis by everyone in Northumbria Police.
“Our force has received the biggest cut in government grant out of all police forces in England and Wales since 2010, a reduction of £123m from our revenue budget.
“It is therefore, particularly pleasing that we have not only been recognised for having robust financial plans in place, but also that we are deemed fit for purpose when it comes to meeting the increasing demands put on our service.
“However, we certainly won’t be complacent. Providing a high standard of service to people who need our help is our priority and we will continue to do everything we can to achieve that.”