NORTH YORKSHIRE Police’s new Chief Constable has made a £10m efficiency drive one of her first priorities, after inspectors criticised the force’s wastefulness.
Speaking on the first morning in her new role, Lisa Winward said consultancy giants PwC had been brought in to help the force identify back-office savings. Money freed up will instead be ploughed into front-line policing, she said.
Ms Winward said while back-office staff worked very hard, “we are not always as efficient as we could be”.
She said: “As an organisation we probably fill in an awful lot of forms and spreadsheets that could be automated, for example.”
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As part of a programme the force is calling Transform 2020, PwC has been tasked with identifying £10m of savings and will be paid up to £1m, with an element of the payment based on results.
Speaking at a press conference alongside Ms Winward yesterday, Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan would not rule out job losses arising from the programme, saying: “We are here to deliver a service and we need to put as much money as possible into the front line and if we can realise efficiencies in the back office, we will do.”
Last year, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary rated the force’s efficiency as requiring improvement, in particular criticising its slowness to grasp modern technology to allow officers to complete tasks while out on patrol rather than having to return to a police station.
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Ms Winward said they were making progress in this area, for example by rolling out body-worn cameras to some teams, but there was “clearly more we can do” to boost technology.
She said she would like to introduce new ways for members of the public to contact the police, saying other forces had web-chat facilities on their websites.
Ms Winward, 46, of York, was previously North Yorkshire Police's Deputy Chief Constable and had been leading the force on an interim basis since the retirement of Dave Jones in April.
He had said he wanted to “hand over the baton” as the force began the next phase of its transformation.
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Ms Winward’s appointment means North Yorkshire is the only place in the country to have both a female Chief Constable and a female Police Commissioner.
She was selected for the five-year post after a recruitment process that included what is believed to be a first for policing in England and Wales: a Question Time-style live event, in which she and another shortlisted candidate faced a grilling by members of the public, police officers and others.