Police authorities: 'Lack of preparation' criticised

Fewer than one-in-five authorities responsible for setting police spending priorities are well-prepared and able to ensure value for money for their forces in the wake of the Government's spending cuts, inspectors said today.

The police watchdog said there was "a real concern that police authorities will not find alternative approaches that offer better value for money and they will not be able to protect the public facing policing services that the public rely upon 24/7".

The Police Federation of England and Wales, which represents rank-and-file officers, warned that up to 20,000 officers' jobs could go after the Government announced a 20 per cent cut in their contribution to police budgets last week.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Today's report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) found that only four of the 22 authorities it assessed – Gwent, Hertfordshire, West Mercia and Surrey – "performed well in both setting strategic direction for policing in their area and ensuring value for money".

Police authorities will be scrapped under Government proposals to replace them with directly-elected police and crime commissioners, but the first elections for those are not expected to be held until 2012.

"The actions taken by police authorities and forces now could set the scene for policing for the next decade. To succeed, action has to be taken."