My core purpose is to add value to keeping all those I serve SAFER.
Sustaining, enhancing, changing and transforming our approaches to keeping us safer and in that common purpose enabling operationally effective policing that continues to defeat those who commit crime and wish us harm – this expands that single word ‘SAFER’.
And today, enabling this requires the right funding.
Funding is on my critical path; funding is a key focus of my lobbying and attention. Because we remain underfunded from the National Funding Formula; because there are extreme pressures on national budgets that, whilst there are growing pressures from national projects and high priority security related programmes, there is significant top slicing of our potential revenue streams.
And in this context, there is risk that the issues of today are exacerbated by immediate cash flow issues that encourage ‘short-term’ action that can conflict with strategic, professional planning for our SAFER futures.
Last year, in full consultation with the Chief Constable and her team, I reinforced my strategic tasking of the Chief to plan for the longer-term: giving confidence to the front line that their resources could be predicted, however stretched; creating space to make deliberate choices about changes needed to stay within budget, to deliver efficiencies – which must always be part of our planning; but always to recommend the most operationally effective approaches.
That will keep us SAFER today and into the future.
This year 2019/20 will continue to be very challenging. With a Spending Review to enable the settlement for 2019/20 in play to inform the next local precept setting, it will be essential to keep an eye and understanding of the mid-term timings that include a national Comprehensive Spending Review due in 2019 for 2020/21 before we get, currently estimated to be in 2022/23, to the Fairer Funding review and determination.
My commitment, in these difficult times, will continue. I give evidence of the need for appropriate funding. I am very visible in relation to the National Funding Formula, and I met the Home Secretary on Monday to discuss strategic funding issues and pressures – as well as briefing him on innovative projects being designed here in our area to keep people SAFER – because we should not forget that our Constabulary is rated GOOD by HMICFRS and is, despite the pressures, still innovative and professionally seeking change and transformation to keep us at the forefront of policing excellence.
I will dial up consulting on the options we face in the short-term, in the context of sustainability that delivers operational effectiveness into the longer term.
I have instructed the Chief Constable to be clear about her professional judgement of the requirements to deliver Operational Effectiveness and identify what impact various levels of funding can deliver. I have instructed the Chief Constable to prioritise the local policing delivery for this year.
So the next years will remain difficult, but demanding of our best efforts. There will be difficult recommendations for the Chief Constable to make, there will be difficult decisions for me.
It is highly likely that to sustain the current level of policing in Hampshire, I will need to increasingly use our reserves to underpin this essential service level and pressures from underfunding via the National Formula, as well as to meet short-term additions to the requirement for this year from, amongst other things, the rise in pension contributions.
I will need to consult the public on their understanding of the pressures to enable policing at a level that they demand, hearing their voices for the priority to raise money via the local precept to sustain and enhance their local safety.
The text from this post formed the Commissioner’s address to the Police and Crime Panel on 5 October 2018.