Warwickshire Police set out strategy in face of cuts worth £11.7 million over four years

Warwickshire Police have to make cuts of 11.7 million over the next four years
Warwickshire Police have to make cuts of 11.7 million over the next four years

Protecting vulnerable people, responding more effectively to calls and increasing crime prevention are among the focuses of Warwickshire Police over the next four years in the face of cuts worth £11.7 million.

The force released their 'Force Management Statement', prepared by Chief Constable Martin Jelley on Thursday August 23, which outlines the current and future pressures they face and how they plan to deal with them.

Among the key ideas are improving Warwickshire Police's 'ageing' call handling system to give the right service to callers more often, increasing their focus on 'neighbourhood policing', and dealing with the likely increase in incidents relating to vulnerable people.

However, the document also says they need to cut £11.7 million from their budget over the next four years, meaning the pressure to find savings is 'constant'.

In the statement, Mr Jelley writes: "Although plans are in place to meet the savings required, the alliance will continue to have an annual budget deficit mainly arising from the continued increase in pay costs.

"This means there is a constant drive to deliver reductions in spend through efficiencies, better value for money, different ways of working and prioritisation of changing demands."

Responding to the public in a more efficient way is one of the bigger challenges the force says it faces, especially as recorded calls have been increasing yearly.

An 'Incident Progression Team' was formed in April 2018 to assess and respond to calls. The team often aims to resolve incidents over the phone where possible.

Warwickshire Police said this has meant officers are only sent to the more serious incidents instead of minor or unsolvable crimes.

The statement says: "We are equipping our officers and staff with the information and technology needed to work more efficiently and offer the ‘right service first time’.

"It will be easier and more convenient for the public to interact with us, ensuring they can be kept updated on developments in a way that meets their needs."

The force also plans to use Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNTs) as a force for preventing crime in their patches. The statement describes them as the 'bedrock' of policing services in Warwickshire.

It adds: "SNTs will aim for prevention rather than cure by taking a problem solving approach and early preventative action in response to the community’s needs."

And officers have been told to be 'professionally curious' and 'look past the obvious' when it comes to identifying and protecting vulnerable people, such as victims of domestic violence.

The force believes dealing with the increase in demand for helping vulnerable people will be 'challenging' in the face of the cuts, and it says its resources are 'unlikely' to match the demand. The statement says the force will have to use risk-based allocation to cope.

However, it also says a 'vulnerability action plan' is in place to try and identify and help vulnerable people earlier.

Warwickshire Police has also said it will look at improving how it passes on evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service, after recent high-profile cases of rape trials collapsing.

The statement says: "Effective disclosure is vital in delivering fair, impartial, and transparent justice outcomes. It is also critical to ensuring that the public, and our partners, have clear trust and confidence in the police."