Posted: Friday 3rd October 2014
The Chief Constable has recently announced her plans to restructure Humberside Police to manage the challenges we face in the years to come due to the reducing funding from central Government.
The challenge is a huge one; we have to make savings of over £30m in the next five years, and over 80% of our budget is spent on people. Justine Curran and I were both absolutely clear on two things when this review began; One – We could not carry on doing business as usual, we needed to strip out layers of bureaucracy that had been there for years and create a leaner, more efficient service, and Two – We are a public service and any changes made must put the public first in everything we do, prioritising those who are vulnerable and at risk.
This is the biggest transformation to policing in decades, and with the reductions in officer and staff numbers that inevitably follow, it has taken over a year of planning to reach the point where we are confident the new model will continue to provide an effective police service to protect local residents with fewer officers.
The review uncovered significant areas where improvements could be made, for example we had the same numbers of officers on duty at 7am as we had at 7pm, yet we were four times busier in the evening. The busiest month of the year was August, yet that was the month when we had the fewest staff available. The structure of geographical divisions created artificial boundaries which will now be eliminated to create one large, flexible team of officers who can be deployed anywhere in the Humberside Policing area, including rural areas if the need is there. It doesn’t matter where they start their shift, they can be sent anywhere, armed with mobile technology that reduces their need to return to a police station to access a computer and there will be around 100 more officers on shift over any given 24-hour period than we have now. That is an improved service, not a reduced one.
Your community will not lose its local policing team, you will have named officers and PCSO’s for your area, and wherever possible we will seek to share buildings in the same location with local partners such as councils. It’s vital that services funded by you, the local taxpayer are working together to reduce costs, not operating in isolation.
Your police are there to protect you by preventing crime and catching criminals, yet for years they have dealt with non-policing issues which prevent them from doing that. We need to burst the bubble of sending officers out hundreds of times a year because someone has said something nasty about someone else on Facebook, or to attend non-police matters like noisy neighbours and stray dogs where we should be directing people to the correct agencies to deal with them.
Your police officers and staff do a difficult job in challenging circumstances, moving forward these changes will no doubt have an impact on them so they need our support, but we are a public service and we must put the public first. If we do it well, you as residents will notice no reduction in service and in some cases an improvement, but the fight against crime cannot be won by the police alone, we must all play our part.