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Fedster

'The idea of a pot of gold to make our problems go away is wishful thinking', HMI warns

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Fedster

Little to no hope funding pressures on police will be alleviated.

'The idea of a pot of gold to make our problems go away is wishful thinking', HMI warns

 

Date - 11th October 2018
By - JJ Hutber- Police Oracle
5 Comments5 Comments}

 

The police service should not expect a cash injection any time soon, an HMI said on Tuesday evening.

HMI Matt Parr told the Bedfordshire Police and Crime Panel he believes current financial pressures will remain.

He said: “I think police will be under financial pressure for the foreseeable future and if government spending as a whole increases it seems to me by no means certain even likely that one of the recipients of increased spending is going to be policing.

“So I think the working assumption worth making is the degree of financial pressure that the forces are under is going to stay.

“This is my personal view but the idea that there’s going to be a pot of gold suddenly produced that makes all our problems go away is wishful thinking.”  

Mr Parr said although the current formula is “not fit for purpose” it will be extremely difficult to agree a model everyone is happy with.

“In my experience every chief constable publically says they are a victim of a harsh funding formula,” he said.

“They all say that. I’m bring flippant but they all do.

“Some of them mean it, some are justified in saying it. Others perhaps have convinced themselves it’s doing them harm- they know that they’re beneficiaries.

“If you reformed it the losers are going to shout louder than the beneficiaries so it’s a really difficult thing.”

He added the police service does not do itself any favours with its “defensive” tone.

“There is a feeling which I think is probably true but there are other departments that are better at getting their act together before comprehensive spending rounds and making their case.

“There is the view that policing is not very good at articulating how the country gets value for money and what the consequences would be of long term national settlements.”

Mr Parr is the HMI who approves all special grant applications, which are intended for unforeseeable major incidents, told the panel he is concerned the stipend will be cut as too many forces are applying.

Bedfordshire Police is planning to submit a special grant request for help with child sexual exploitation investigations and Mr Parr said he intends to write a covering note saying “you want to be careful with this because if you approve this you are changing what special grants are for”.

“I think Jon’s [Chief Constable Jon Boutcher] been very clever in bullying the minister into agreeing to this.

“We used to get two or three applications a year now we’re getting one a month maybe more because all forces are under pressure they’re all putting in special grants.

“For example the Met used to find it impossible to put a grant in because the rule is you’ve got to spend one per cent of your budget or something like that.

“The Home Office have given them a bit of leeway and said you can blob up events and two or three events in a series, combine them together and we’ll look at it. It used to be against the rules.

“So the thing to remember about special grants is that it’s not a big pot of money, it’s just top sliced off the overall grant.

“It’s not a panacea to everyone’s problems and if everyone continues to use it they do at the moment all it will mean is that the grants get cut.  

Speaking the day after West Mercia and Warwickshire Police forces announced they were abandoning a close partnership, Mr Parr said he still does not believe policing “has even scratched the surface of collaboration and where it might go”.

“I’m not talking about amalgamations, I’m not talking about alliances.

“I’m talking about clever collaborations.”

He said Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) have come a long way since it recommended a single police force ten years ago and believes the advent of police and crime commissioner has kicked the debate into the long grass.  

“It’s a dreadful cliché the idea of all policing is local there’s something about that something its there’s a point in that.

“The challenge now is how do you limit the negative impact of a false boundary. I’d rather people concentrated on that then increased the collaboration.”

Bedfordshire Police Chief Constable Jon Boutcher said Mr Parr has so far given him a “very fair” hearing and the two have a good relationship.

But he said HMIC as an organisation needs to get off the fence and raise concerns about police budget cuts.

“I do think the HMIC not have been as forthcoming as they should have been around policing to government and I see a worrying comparison with the prison service.

“We’re sleepwalking into a public services challenge and policing is that service everyone else calls when no one else picks up the phone.

“I do think the HMI have got a responsibility to be more vocal.

“The pressures on policing at the moment are immense and I think we need to have a more open and informed debate.

“One of the biggest challenges is Brexit.

“Brexit’s taking a lot of the agenda for everybody at the moment but it feels to me issues in public service aren’t getting the air time they deserve."

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HazRat

Well he’s a little ray of sunshine.

We can only do so much with what we’ve got. If we’re struggling to meet demand now,I can only imagine what it will be like if funding continues to be an issue.

We are the go to agency when everyone else decides that they don’t want to know or can’t resource it. I don’t see how we can continue and not create the sort of injustices and failures that we’ve seen in the past.... and that was when we had numbers  in our favour.

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Zulu 22

I think that the Bedfordshire Chief summed it up well when he said, "Bedfordshire Police Chief Constable Jon Boutcher said Mr Parr has so far given him a “very fair” hearing and the two have a good relationship. But he said HMIC as an organisation needs to get off the fence and raise concerns about police budget cuts.  “I do think the HMIC not have been as forthcoming as they should have been around policing to government and I see a worrying comparison with the prison service. “We’re sleepwalking into a public services challenge and policing is that service everyone else calls when no one else picks up the phone. “I do think the HMI have got a responsibility to be more vocal". 

It took far too long for Chief Constable's to speak out about the cuts. It is certainly time the the HMI's got off the fence and spoke up openly and honestly, or could it be that the Chief HMI was the main henchman and executioner for May when she was Home Secretary in charge of crucifixion  of Policing.

 

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