The changing face of crime has already led to Nottinghamshire Police and other forces into sharing some operational and expert services to help outwit criminals and better protect the public.
As I enter my second term of office as your Police and Crime Commissioner, I am convinced that the more we can cut out time-wasting duplication and draw upon each other’s services, the more we will be able to detect and deter criminals intent on harming the innocent.
Crime in Nottinghamshire has fallen faster in recent times than in most other counties. But there is more to be done and I believe that if Nottinghamshire Police team up with the Leicestershire and Northamptonshire forces with more shared systems and operations you will receive a more robust service. Things are still very much at the discussion stage and there is a lot of work to be done but if the plans go ahead, local policing and local knowledge will remain at the heart of each of the three forces. Each area will retain its own force but will join up on other functions such as technology to improve channels of communication. Such integration will increase their capacity to bring crime down by helping to meet demand on resources.
With ever-increasing demands on dwindling budgets, the savings to be made present a strong argument in favour of this new concept. When fully operational, an alliance is currently expected to enable savings of between £50m and £75m each year on a total budget of around £480m today.
Challenges in policing and other public services continue to go hand in hand with the need for change, including changes in the way the force is structured and the potential for closer working practices between the police and fire services.
Change is not always greeted with enthusiasm, but nor is change always bad. In policing, we have to be realistic about how best to serve the public and in my view closer working both within the force and with other services is the way forward.
Today, threats to our safety and security are increasingly hidden from view. Cyber-crime wasn’t a part of my childhood but today it’s the fastest growing crime area. With computers, smart phones and tablets playing increasingly vital roles in our lives we are more at risk from cyber criminals than we are from physical harm. To combat this, our police need to be techno-savvy and share their expert knowledge across borders. Working together in this and other ways strengthens the protection that keeps us safe.