Some VERY Interesting Numbers

I am grateful to one of my readers for sending me the link to the National Audit Office report from last week.  Not the edited highlights that the Press were quick to jump on one way or the other, but the full report.

I’ve only skim read it a couple of times so far, so I haven’t taken it all in yet, but there are some very interesting headline numbers.

£12.5 BILLION – the total amount spent by the 43 Forces of England and Wales 2014-2015 (set that against the £7.2 Billion Gidiot lost on RBS).

25% – the real-terms reduction in funding to PCCs 2011-2016.

36,672 – the total reduction in size of the Police Family (excluding Specials) March 2010-September 2014

£2.5 BILLION – the amount of savings Forces PLANNED to make 2011-2016

35% – real-term increase of Reserves in 39 Forces with comparable data.

3 – number of forces rated as ‘requires improvement’ in their response to the spending review by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary

16,659 – reduction in the number of police officers between March 2010 and September 2014

0% to 47% – variation in the percentage of forces’ savings that came from collaboration in 2014-15

66% – budget increase for HM Inspectorate of Constabulary for 2014-15

Not only are some of those numbers interesting, but some of the headlines and the stories behind them were worth reading too.

Police forces have insufficient understanding of the demand for services.

This is one of the headlines that the Press fed us last week.  The story?

Crime statistics indicate that crime has fallen since 2010-11. However, crime levels are a limited measure of demand because: they do not include all types of crime; forces face increases in more complex risks and threats such as cyber crime and child sexual exploitation, which have historically been under-reported; and because not all demand is crime-related. Forces estimate that crime accounts for only 22% of the number of emergency and priority incidents. However, HMIC estimates that only 10 of 43 forces have a sophisticated understanding of demand. In our view, the College’s recent report on demand provides a limited picture across the service. There are no standards for measuring demand and no comprehensive national picture of demand across policing, including demand potentially caused by funding reductions in other sectors

The Department has insufficient information to determine how much further it can reduce funding without degrading services, or when it may need to support individual forces.

The police sector is considering how to identify information that might give early warning of a force at risk. HMIC provides regular and thematic information on a wide range of policing areas. Forces provide data to HMIC, which it checks and verifies through inspection. However, in our view there is currently insufficient information to identify signs of the sector being unable to deliver services, unclear links between financial reductions and service pressures, and limited data on police productivity. The previous government removed public service agreement (PSA) targets in June 2010 as part of its move towards greater local accountability. Instead, commissioners and forces decide what information to collect and monitor in response to local priorities

This one is quite possibly the most significant in my opinion and it’s the one that seems to have slid under the door with hardly a comment;

Forces will need to transform the service they deliver if they are to meet the financial challenge and address the changing nature of crime

The Department did not have its budget protected during the last Parliament, and forces will face further significant funding reductions. Although we have seen examples of innovation and good financial management in some of our visits, overall many of the savings so far could be characterised as tactical or efficiency savings, rather than service transformation. The Department and HMIC consider that forces can achieve higher levels of savings by increasing collaboration across forces and with other public sector partners. There is information on the total costs and savings of collaboration but limited analysis of the variation in savings achieved to date

Thus opening the door for Regional or National Forces, local mergers and, most definitely, outsourcing/privatisation.

Snuck away in the Summary was Para 17, also unremarked upon by the Press I believe;

Police forces have successfully reduced costs since 2010-11 and crime hasreduced over the same period. But this is an incomplete picture; the available indicatorsof financial stress are limited, and there is insufficient information on service stress.Crime statistics do not capture all crime, and the police do more than deal with crime-related incidents. However, most forces do not have a thorough evidence-based understanding of demand, or what affects their costs. It is therefore difficult for them totransform services intelligently, show how much resource they need, and demonstratethat they are delivering value for money.

Change is coming.

All references to The Department above refer to The Home Office

Public Being Treated Like Mushrooms

…………being kept in the dark and fed Bullshit.

That august body the National Audit Office has pronounced that Government Ministers don’t actually have enough information to assess the impact of Austerity cuts on Policing. However, that does not stop Theresa May and Mike Penning repeating the clearly incorrect mantra that the Police are well-equipped to deal with the effects of past and proposed cuts.

The NAO said that ministers lacked information to know when a police force was at risk of being “unable to deliver services”.  Still they don’t listen.

Returning all the way back to Sir Thomas Winsor’s infamous Independent Review (he was only a Mr then though) the Home Office have previously admitted that no Risk Assessments or Impact Assessments were carried out on Winsor’s recommendations, they have just been endorsed and adopted anyway.

I fail to see how any right-minded person can fail to agree with National Audit Office on that matter, how CAN government know if they have carried out NO assessments.  Caught out, spouting ill-informed bollocks purely to get their own way and emasculate the Police Service, treating the Public with total contempt along the way.

The tide is beginning to turn.  It is not only the Police that are pointing out that #CutsHaveConsequences, but there is still much work to be done, as illustrated in yesterday’s post.

Policing Minister Mike Penning claims that forces still have sufficient funds “to do their important work”, but does not actually specify what that “important work” consists of.

The NAO report said central government funding to police and crime commissioners – who receive and allocate police funds – was reduced by £2.3bn between 2010-11 and 2015-16.

It said this was a real-terms reduction of 25% – or an 18% cut once local council tax funding was taken into account.

The NAO said the Home Office needed to be “better informed” to properly oversee forces and distribute funding.

“The department has insufficient information to determine how much further it can reduce funding without degrading services, or when it may need to support individual forces,” the report said.

But it said new assessments by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) should give “assurance on the financial sustainability and the performance of forces”.

The report also said:

■ police forces “successfully reduced costs” since 2010-11 and crime fell – but this was an “incomplete picture” because statistics do not capture all crime and there is limited information on “financial or service stress”

■ forces have “insufficient understanding of the demand” for their services, and it is therefore “difficult for them to transform services intelligently”

■ much cost-cutting so far has been “efficiency savings rather than service transformation”

■ the total police workforce dropped by 36,3672 (15%) between March 2010 and September 2014, and officer numbers dropped by 16,659 (12%) to 127,075

For some reason it seems that only HMIC are competent to make assurances of this kind.  Government I can understand, a collection of “here today, gone tomorrow” politicians.  The Police Service themselves however have been around for nearly 200 years, why aren’t they competent to assess the situation and inform people? To be fair HMIC have been around for nearly as long but are led by a Sir with absolutely no Policing experience, just a nice pretty uniform.

Listen to the Police Service.

In the meantime the Daily Mail have waded in with a different take on the NAO report

Police are sitting on £1.85billion of public money – while complaining bitterly about ‘Cuts’

Most of this money has been raised by selling off the family silver and is sitting in the bank in anticipation of the swingeing cuts still to come.  Not that I approve of selling off the Police Estate but having done so it makes perfect budgetary sense to keep it in the bank in anticipation of a future demand.  I’m sure the Mail would be quick to point out if the Forces recklessly spent their reserves after all.

Never before has “Lions Led By Donkeys” been more fitting.  Every time the lions roar the donkeys play the Crime Is Down tape one more time, it must be close to wearing out and tangling by now.

Come on Mushrooms, throw off the Compost and add your voices.  You truly can only Do Less With Less.  In what sector can anybody do More With Less?