With the budget potentially hitting Government Departments hard from 2011, what is the impact on Policing? With the Home Office currently receiving a budget of £9.6bn per annum to fund Policing and Immigration/Customs services and the Police currently working with a budget of £5.6bn, a 25% reduction could have an impact of £1.4bn per annum. So what are the options? Some will initially spotlight the NPIA as a possible casualty with its role as policy writer, national systems supporter and training deliverer. There is no doubt that many will ask what the value of the organisation is with its current costs towards £0.5bn per annum. However, the support for core systems and some level of national training will have to lie somewhere so it’s not quite so easy for this current organisation to dissolve completely. There must however be questions over the viabiltiy of some its current initiatives including ISIS. A good policy to look towards standardisation, but can and will Forces be able to afford change?
IT does play a part in this scramble to save money and most should now look as to how proper and efficient use of IT save time and money for frontline officers, possibly enabling the reduction in required numbers over time. However, these sort of cuts require significant strategies and not just re-organising the deck chairs! It has to be time where the service reviews the provision of back office services, including IT, HR, Finance, Fleet Management etc. more radically than before and looks at utilising Shared/CLOUD/Third Party services to deliver these.
We are moving in to a new chapter of policing in the UK where the landscape of service provision to the public will change forever.