A national report into police austerity has found the Herts force is on track to meet its £35.8million required savings.
The inquiry, undertaken by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, tracked police forces’ response to budget cuts since summer 2011, using force data and inspection to analyse how they make savings, and how it affects their workforce and the service they provide.
The county constabulary was rated ‘good’ across three key points – whether it has taken the necessary steps to ensure a secure financial position for the short and long term, the extent to which it provides policing affordably, and its efficiency.
#Additionally, Herts’ tri-force working arrangement with Bedfordshire Police and Cambridgeshire Constabulary was judged ‘impressive and well-established’ by the report.
The investigation summarised: “The force is achieving the savings required and it is planning well for the future, while continuing to reduce crime and retaining high levels of victim satisfaction.
“The force is very well-placed to be able to continue to provide an effective service to the public while reducing its costs further.”
The county was among 35 out of 43 forces judged as having a ‘good’ response to the budget cuts, while five across the country were judged to be ‘outstanding’.
Only three forces required improvement – including nearby Bedfordshire, despite its collaboration with Herts and Cambs.
No forces were judged as ‘inadequate’, but the Inspectorate said that era of police austerity is still ongoing.
Herts Chief Constable Andy Bliss said: “This is an excellent report that reflects the hard work and dedication of all of my officers and staff who have risen to the challenge of meeting rising demand with fewer resources.
“In addition, the budget managers and our own finance department have been particularly attentive to ensuring that crime fighting activities and services to victims are protected wherever possible and that savings come from improved efficiencies, such as the introduction of mobile data and more effective work processes.”
Police and Crime Commissioner for the county David Lloyd said: “At the same time as being on track to meet the required savings over the next few years, there has been no dip in police performance and those vital frontline, public-facing Neighbourhood Policing teams have been protected.
“On top of that, I did not have to increase the police portion of Herts’ council tax bills for 2104/15 which must have been a relief for many hard-working taxpayers, many of whom are facing the same tightening of budgets as the public sector is currently managing.”