A three force Strategic Alliance could be viable between Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Northamptonshire police forces - operationally, financially and politically.
That was the conclusion of a meeting of the chief officers and police and crime commissioners from Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Northamptonshire.
Following months of work by a project team of officers and staff from all three forces, the Chief Officers and PCCs agreed that the ‘proof of concept’ work was persuasive.
At a meeting held last week (Thursday 17 December), the over-arching view was that there is a real potential for the creation of a single policing model for all three forces.
As a result it was agreed that a more detailed business case will now be developed to define what such an alliance could constitute, with an intention to introduce unified leadership, a single way of working, uniformity in systems, training, policy and procedures, to ensure a consistently high quality standard of service across the three forces.
On November 3, the three forces announced that they had asked G4S to carry out a feasibility study into contact management. We are grateful to G4S for providing their report but although we have identified an urgent need to explore the options for our contact management capability, we can confirm at this early stage that this will not include outsourcing.
The first phase of the Strategic Alliance will look at early alignment across the contact management departments by June 2017.
The three forces and the Office of Police and Crime Commissioners will also be talking in detail with staff, staff associations, partners and with the public.
The three Deputy Chief Constables will help shape the vision for the Strategic Alliance. If the detailed business case proves viable, a full Alliance could be in place by 2020.
PCC Paddy Tipping said: “As Police and Crime Commissioners for the three areas, we are delighted to see the three forces working together with a concerted view of the future. Based on the early exploratory work, the argument for this Alliance appears compelling. It is therefore entirely right that we move forward to a detailed business case, following which we will be able to consider the full operational and financial implications.
“We have already identified an urgent need to explore the options for our contact management capability, but we can confirm at this early stage that this will not include outsourcing to G4S.
“To be quite clear, the Alliance is not a merger. It is all about protecting the quality of local policing services in each force area as a result of maximising efficiencies and optimising business practices and, importantly for our communities and work-forces, each force will retain its own identity.”
Chief Constable Chris Eyre said: “Working across the three force areas offers us a number of opportunities to collaborate further. We can benchmark against other forces, look at the most effective and efficient ways of working and ensure that this is how we deliver our service to the public.
“A Strategic Alliance offers more resilience, more integration and consistency, which will ultimately give the public the best service we can provide for the money we have available. “We need to look at how we can deliver a wide range of services differently across the three forces. Technology, for example, can open up new channels of communication and enable people to report and track crime online or where appropriate talk to an officer online.
“There will inevitably be changes to the service the public receives however what is paramount is that we work together to keep people safe and operate in the most efficient and effective way.”