With more funding reductions for policing on the way, Nottinghamshire Police will start the New Year tightening its belt by yet another notch while doing everything possible to meet the public’s expectations.
The Home Office’s announcement just before Christmas on provisional financial allocations for police forces means a reduction of £800,000 for Nottinghamshire – a shortfall that the Government expects local taxpayers to make up through an increase in the police portion of the local council tax.
While this latest announcement is not as bad as we had feared, it nonetheless does nothing to help us recover from the 25 per cent funding cuts we have had to make over the last four years or reduce our plans to deliver savings of a further £20million by March 2017.
As a result, I will be talking with our local partners and the public in the coming weeks with a view to setting a budget that reflects public expectations.
We also have to take into account a number of changes that will affect our costs.
On the financial front, these involve National Insurance contributions, inflationary pressures and pay increases.
With regard to policing itself and protecting our citizens from harm we have to consider the shifting nature of criminality itself, which shapes how our services are delivered.
Living in an increasingly technical and computer-driven world means we have to adapt our working practices accordingly.
I know that people feel reassured by police routinely patrolling their neighbourhood but a child is more likely to get abused online in their bedroom than on the street. That’s a fact.
Today’s big issues, such as child sex exploitation, terrorism and cybercrime require a different way of tackling crime – which, when combined with the financial position, may well result in the need to make further cuts to officer numbers.
In order to keep these reductions to a minimum I would like to see better, more inclusive procurement deals alongside more partners.
Better deals and more joint projects in terms of service delivery are, I believe, a good way forward in these testing times.
As we embark on a new year, I know that Nottinghamshire Police has the will and the drive to provide the best service possible despite the funding challenges. And, like me, the force wants 2016 to see fewer victims of crime.
Being a victim is often an alarming experience, sometimes a desperate one. That is why – whatever the changes we have to make – I will always put their needs first.
Preventing crime and protecting our communities is at the very heart of policing.
It’s a combination that I hope will help to keep you safe – and happy – this new year.
Visit www.nottinghamshire.police.uk to find out more about the force and your local policing team.