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'Public First' focus as police cost savings continue

The Chief Constable of Dorset Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset have made it clear the public comes first – as further cost savings are sought.

The Force is reviewing a number of functions in order to meet the additional £10 million cost savings required by March 2015.

Chief Constable Debbie Simpson said: “We have made significant savings over the past three years but these remain challenging times. We must find alternative – more cost efficient and cost effective – ways of delivering our services.

“Between January 2010 and December 2012, we have already made savings of around £10 million. We have achieved this without cutting back our frontline services, but through a process of review and reshaping to ensure we are delivering best practice to our communities, streamlining functions where possible and creating efficiencies.

“Despite the financial challenges, we are continuing to see excellent reductions in serious assaults, serious sexual assaults, robberies, anti-social behaviour and total crime.

“The cost savings that are required of the Force have provided an opportunity to look deeply into the organisation and ensure we are working in the most efficient way and making the best use of resources.

“The changes being made to achieve the cost savings are not about withdrawing services or a reduction in capability, we are seeking to do things differently while continuing to serve the public.” 

An organisational change programme called ‘One Team’ continues to run to identify and deliver the savings required – while continuing to put the public first.

Police and Crime Commissioner for Dorset, Mr Martyn Underhill, is a member of the One Team Programme Board. He said: “It is encouraging that we continue to see reductions in areas like serious sexual assaults and anti-social behaviour, despite the difficult financial challenges faced.

“The focus must remain to continue to protect frontline services, while minimising waste. It is true to say that frontline services may look a little different, but provided the public remain at the heart of policing in Dorset we can ensure good service is continued.

“For example, the opening of Swanage Pathway earlier this month was an opportunity to work closely with the town council to deliver a more cost-effective, service that better serves the community with a more modern facility in the centre of town.

“The Force will continue to work closely with partner agencies to seek opportunities which ensure we are delivering what the public need, in the right way and responsibly within budget. The opening of ARC Dorset, the first sexual assault referral centre in Dorset, earlier this year is another example of the benefit to the public when we work together – with our communities at the heart of what we do.”