Below is a letter from the Chief Constable of Dorset
Police Mr Martin Baker and Chairman of the Dorset Police Authority
Mr Michael Taylor. The letter is an update to the residents of
Dorset on the progress of the Force’s continuous improvement
programme aimed at ensuring that the public come first while
operating in a significantly reduced funding
This is the latest in our series of
Stakeholder updates, which are issued after each meeting of the
full Dorset Police Authority, the most recent of which was held on
28 June 2012. In this letter we are taking the opportunity to
update you on the operational performance of the Force, our current
financial position and the action being taken to match operational
priorities with a reducing level of resources.
The Home Secretary’s primary indicator
of policing success is crime reduction and at the end of 2011/12
total recorded crime in Dorset was at a 14-year low. In the first
quarter of 2012/13 this reduction has accelerated, with crime down
a further 14% on the same period last year. This equates to
approximately 1,500 fewer crimes.
Our community can be confident in this
performance not least because a recent inspection by
HM Inspectorate of
Constabulary (HMIC) found that Dorset Police achieves “excellent
compliance with the National Crime Recording Standards and Home
Office Counting Rules and that gives a high level of confidence in
Dorset’s crime statistics”.
In the year to the end of March 2012
the annual incident count for anti-social behaviour stood at
38,373, a reduction of 21.3% since 2007/08. As with recorded crime,
the numbers of reported incidents of anti-social behaviour have
continued to fall in the current year compared to last, with a
further reduction of approximately 20% (1,900 incidents).
The Force is currently registering its
highest ever public rating for doing a good or excellent job. This
measure is showing a 10 percentage point increase since 2006.
Confidence in Dorset Police as measured from a random sample of
over 4,000 members of the resident public has also improved
significantly, from 70% to 77% in the last year
'One Team' update
The first phase of the Force’s One
Team change programme concluded with the introduction of a ‘direct
delivery’ method of managing intelligence, investigations and
public protection, rationalising the provision of these
The Force concluded the current phase
of the programme prior to the Olympic and Paralympic Games and will
move onto the next phase after the Games, which will continue the
work to deliver high levels of operational performance while making
the necessary Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) savings by March
2015 and preparing for the demands of the next CSR period.
Research and consultation in relation
to the future of the Force Marine Section remains ongoing. Further
work will then be carried out post Olympics to investigate
opportunities for enhanced partnership working with other police
forces and organisations.
In designing the future operating
model of the Force, we remain focused on protecting the public,
maintaining our emergency services and reducing crime. While Safer
Neighbourhood Teams (SNTs) are and will remain a vital component of
our policing model, with significant further reductions in officers
and staff still required to be made, it is inevitable that
levels are being closely examined.
As detailed in previous communications, the Coalition
Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) has effectively
meant budget cuts in Dorset of approximately £20m by the end of the
in March 2015.
The one-off council tax freeze grant,
pressure to restrict further increases and potential for more cuts
in the next CSR period could see this
figure rise substantially. On our current projections, we will soon
be at a resource level last seen in the early 1980s.
In response, the Force has undertaken
an enormous change programme to deliver savings whilst maximising
its operational effectiveness.
Initial savings were focused on
infrastructure, processes and reducing workforce numbers.
Reductions in the workforce have been achieved by taking early
steps (in March 2010) to restrict recruitment and by introducing a
highly successful voluntary severance scheme, which has meant that
we have so far been able to avoid compulsory redundancies. All of
this has resulted in the achievement of savings of approximately
£10m to date, but there still remain significant additional savings
to make – at least a further £10m – which will necessitate
additional substantial reductions in numbers of officers and staff
by March 2015.
The Force’s operational success is
particularly notable when considering the officer and staff
reductions that have already been made. In response to the ongoing
requirement to make financial savings, there are already 270 fewer
Dorset Police officers and staff (including 56 front line
PCs and six
working for the public since the current CSR was announced. To
fulfil the savings required by the end of the CSR period, the
current structure has to reduce by around another 162 police
officer and 160 police staff posts by 2014/15 in order to meet the
In the medium term, the Force is at
increased risk of operating from increasingly ageing assets,
including estates, technology, vehicles and specialist equipment. A
robust programme of work is therefore being undertaken to see how
we can preserve and improve our infrastructure in order to maintain
The Force is already the fourth lowest
spending force in England and Wales, with a high proportion of its
budget spent on front-line officers and very low management support
costs. This has been achieved while maintaining high level
performance in relation to both cutting crime and cutting costs.
The Force and Authority has already explored many of the other
avenues available to it in terms of cutting the budget.
There has been much news coverage in
recent months relating to the benefits (or otherwise) of
outsourcing and the Force and Authority continues to keep
outsourcing opportunities under review and to that end have signed
up as ‘interested parties’ to outsourcing opportunities being
looked at by other forces and authorities. However, no contractual
obligations have been entered into.
Our work so far has clearly shown that
our internal costs are significantly lower than that being
delivered from private sector outsourcing partners.
The Force and the Police Authority
continue to play an active and integral part in driving forward the
South West Collaboration project. The Regional Collaboration Board
is chaired by the Chief Constable of Dorset and the programme
covers operational areas such as serious and organised crime, as
well as back office functions such as procurement and is overseen
by the South West Police Authority Joint Committee (SWPAJC).
Of course, the Force will continue to
work with the Authority to try and get more money from Government,
to drive down costs and to look for increased opportunities around
collaboration and outsourcing and partnership all in liaison with
What should be in no doubt is that
when in November 2012 a Police and Crime Commissioner is elected in
Dorset he or she will find a workforce and organisation fully
committed To Making Dorset Safer and To Making Dorset Feel
Martin Baker QPM, Chief Constable,
Michael Taylor CBE
DL, Chairman, Dorset Police
1 Dorset Community Safety