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Work together effectively with other police forces and key partners to provide better services to local people

I plan to work with other Constabularies and other public sector partners to: share estates and enabling services and make savings for reinvestment in priority areas; transform the criminal justice system locally into a criminal justice service; and support delivery of this Plan.

Key Objectives What do we plan to achieve by 2020

Work with Local Authority Leaders, strengthening effective partnerships to intervene earlier and build safer, stronger and more cohesive communities
Encourage and support emergency service collaboration
Transform the local criminal justice service in order to make it speedy, effective and improve the experience of victims
Strengthen opportunities for residents to interact with the police
Work more closely with other police forces to drive efficiencies, enabling re-investment in areas of growing need

Work with Local Authority Leaders, strengthening effective partnerships to intervene earlier and build safer, stronger and more cohesive communities

The task of supporting vulnerable people and helping the communities of Avon and Somerset to be safe and feel safe cannot be achieved alone. Working closely with Local Authority leaders, I will strive to provide strong local leadership and forge effective partnerships with Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs), Youth Offending Teams (YOTs), safeguarding and health partnerships to make best use of limited resources by:

  • Strengthening our approach to sharing information, expertise and evidence-based practice to shift focus onto prevention and early intervention
  • Supporting the development of integrated services to break down silos, reduce costs, transforming services and improving outcomes
  • Maximising opportunities through a changing partnership landscape, such as the West of England and Devon and Somerset ‘Devolution Deals’, and changes to Youth Justice arising from the Taylor Review

Encourage and support emergency service collaboration

The government is committed to ensuring that emergency services work more closely together to deliver more effective and efficient services for local people. They acknowledge that the three ‘blue light’ services play an essential role in serving their communities and keeping them safe. While the police, fire and rescue and ambulance services all have distinct front line roles, the government family believes that much closer collaboration between the three services can provide real benefits for local people and help each service better meet the needs and challenges they face. To facilitate broader collaborative working between the blue light services in the South West, the South West Emergency Services Forum (SWESF) has been established. It will review current working, seek opportunities to strengthen these for the future and explore new ideas and options for more collaborative and innovative approaches to working together.

Transform the local criminal justice service in order to make it speedy, effective and improve the experience of victims

Close and effective partnership working by criminal justice agencies is essential in ensuring support for victims and witnesses, bringing offenders to justice and effective punishment and rehabilitation of offenders.
However, the criminal justice system is complex, expensive, time-consuming and inefficient. Significant progress has been made in improving the experience of victims with the introduction of the Lighthouse Service, and in streamlining the criminal justice service through the Transforming Summary Justice and Better Case Management programmes, however, there is a long way to go. I will support and challenge criminal justice partners to increase efficiency and improve the experience of victims by:

  • Commissioning a criminal justice review to identify ‘pinch points’ to drive efficient and effective partnership working, improve victims’ experience and transform the local criminal justice service
  • Making best use of technology by investing in Body Worn Videos, and supporting criminal justice partners in moving to a fully digitalised criminal justice system through the Common Platform Programme
  • Enabling use of ‘soft suites’ so that vulnerable victims are able to give their evidence in a safe and comfortable environment without having to face the trauma of going to court
  • Strengthen PCC engagement in the Avon and Somerset Criminal Justice Board and Reducing Reoffending Board – support and challenge effective partnership working to reduce reoffending
  • Further develop independent scrutiny involving residents and people with relevant expertise and experience

Strengthen opportunities for residents to interact with the police

The police service is here to serve local people. Policing by consent is the bedrock of our police service – building a relationship of trust and confidence between the police and the communities they serve is crucial to an effective policing service.

The local community have an invaluable role to play in shaping and supporting their local police service.

Work more closely with other police forces to drive efficiencies, enabling re-investment in areas of growing need

I will work with the government, Chief Constable and organisations across all sectors to secure efficient, effective and modern police and criminal justice services. I will ensure resources are organised in a way that enables delivery of the Police and Crime Plan. Value for money (effective and efficient services) will be evaluated through both internal (Office of Police and Crime Commissioner, OPCC evaluation) and external assurance processes (HMIC efficiency and effectiveness inspections).

The Home Office and Treasury intend to consult on the policing funding formula during my second term in office. I will continue to argue for a fairer funding formula for local people. Avon and Somerset are currently under-funded by the government, and this would be addressed by reflecting the complexity of vulnerability and victimisation within the formula.

Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary reviews police efficiency on an annual basis as part of its core PEEL inspection. In their latest report, HMIC judged the force as being “good”. I want to see the Constabulary achieving “outstanding”, as only through maximising efficiency opportunities can we realise savings that are required for investment in areas of growth and need. The Constabulary also needs to ensure that it delivers efficiencies without compromising effectiveness.

Avon and Somerset Constabulary has already made savings in excess of £60 million since 2010, largely due to organisational restructures, and employees leaving or retiring which released savings in departmental budgets. A further £21 million of new savings have been identified from current forecasts as being required to generate funds for reinvestment and balance the budget between 2016/17 and March 2020.

The Chief Constable and I are committed to achieving these efficiencies in order to be able to make reinvestments in areas of growing pressure and complexity: for example, to address crimes such as child sexual abuse including exploitation and cyber-crime. The largest programme of savings is the collaboration with Gloucestershire and Wiltshire Police on enabling services.