Police and Crime Commissioners and Chief Constables from the region have reached a three-way agreement to share more policing services in the future to free-up valuable funding that can be invested in the frontline.
The tri-force agreement between Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire is expected to protect frontline policing in each area and help safeguard police officer numbers as well as achieving better value for money services for the public.
There are significant financial and operational challenges ahead, according to the commissioners.
Realisation of the benefits from this new three-force collaboration programme will help address these challenges, maximise the return to the taxpayer and protect the delivery of frontline policing, particularly the local neighbourhood teams.
Signing up to a Memorandum of Understanding, the three organisations will now pursue opportunities to collaborate fully on operational support and organisation support functions which include finance, fleet, estates and facilities, legal, human resources, professional standards, training, ICT, firearms licensing, custody and crime recording.
The agreement enables the three forces to develop business cases for sharing services but also recognises that not all services are suitable for this type of partnership working.
Local policing, including incident response and neighbourhood policing, will continue to be delivered by the individual forces, thereby enabling the specific priorities of each Commissioner’s Police and Crime Plans to be met.
Commenting on the new agreement, which was formally agreed at a meeting yesterday, Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Olly Martins said: “This is a huge leap forward for us and represents a revolutionary shift in joint public sector working. Together joint working will help us optimise all our resources so that we’re in a much better position financially and operationally to fight crime and protect our frontline services.
“Thanks to our existing joint working the three forces have considerable experience in working together collaboratively and have received national acclaim. This new phase builds on this and will place us firmly at the forefront of collaborative policing in the UK once again, of which each force – as well as the public – can be very proud.
“We have explored every avenue along this journey to ensure we secure the best and safest deal for the public, which has at times been challenging. But we’ve worked through all the obstacles to achieve unity moving forward – illustrating graphically that Police and Crime Commissioners really are a dynamic vehicle for instigating change and progress.”
Chief Constable Colette Paul said: “For me this is about protecting local frontline policing. We still have further savings to make and I want to make those savings by working together with our neighbouring forces to reduce the cost of organisational support and operational support.
“We already know this works but I don’t underestimate the impact on my staff who will be going through even more change. This will give us the chance to transform our service.”