Financial sustainability of police forces in England & Wales
£2.3 billion was cut from police budgets in the five years since 2010/11 – a reduction of between 12% and 23% for individual police forces.
These figures are from the recent (4 June 2015) National Audit Office report: “Financial sustainability of police forces in England and Wales”. NAO reports are invaluable, in my opinion, because the organisation has no political axe to grind and merely examines costs and performance as fairly as possible.
Given the scale of cuts, the Home Office and Chief Constables know that they have to transform the way that police forces operate. This NAO report says that it’s extremely difficult for these leaders to plan a modern police force because:
[alert-note]”they do not have a clear understanding of the demands placed upon them or of the factors that affect their costs”[/alert-note]
The NAO acknowledges that crime figures have fallen but points out that, for instance, only 22% of emergency or priority incidents that police respond to are crime-related.
Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Constabulary estimate that only 10 of 43 forces have a sophisticated understanding of demand. There are no standards for measuring demand and, in the view of the NAO, no comprehensive national picture of demand across policing.
This helpful infographic tells the story: