(Un)comfortable seat on de fence?

UK Police Chief Constable rank markings
Image via Wikipedia

Apparently ACPO are ‘Keeping up the pressure on Government’ according to a recent Police Oracle article?

The ACPO Ivory Towers release dated 6th Sept 2010 (see below in full), comments on how they envisage government cutbacks impacting upon crime…

ACPO lead on finance and resource Chief Constable Grahame Maxwell said:

“The police service is acutely aware of the current pressures on public accounts and we acknowledge the need to make our share of reductions in spending. The full extent of the cuts we face will not become clear until after the comprehensive spending review in the autumn, but we are planning for a range of scenarios, both as individual forces and as a service.”

“If the cuts are at the lower end of the spectrum, then it may be possible to address a sizeable proportion of these through reductions in non-staffing costs and by making savings through further improvements in process and more efficient procurement. If the proposed cuts are larger, then inevitably this will impact upon the numbers of police staff and officers. This is a risk but forces are bracing themselves for those tough choices. The impact will be felt differently on each individual force, but chief constables will be doing all they can to protect the front line and to provide the best possible policing service with the resources available to them.”


Let me start by saying; what a wonderful piece of noncommittal open to interpretation fluff… If it hadn’t been delivered by the Chief of my old force I wouldn’t have been that worried however, Grahame is renowned across policing circles for his skills with the cost cutter knife.

It’s not had to understand how Mr Maxwell is the financial voice of ACPO after all, he is attributed with massive cost savings (cuts) at West Yorkshire as ACC, at South Yorkshire as DCC and in North Yorkshire as the Chief, he has found something in the region of £5m savings within the county… A veritable scythe swinger to be shure!

One thing I do admire about Mr Maxwell though is; he appears to have a reasonable grasp on the values of collaborative working in the service, unlike some members of ACPO. It’s just a pity that this ‘understanding’ doesn’t yet appear to run to the pressing need for extensive regionalisation and possibly, some enforced amalgamations.

click for more information on regional collaberation

The collaboration between the Yorkshire forces and Humberside (see here) is a good start however; until those types of ‘voluntary’ arrangement actually produce substantial and tangible administrative reductions and a rationalisation of senior management, in many ways they are simply piecemeal solutions to what is a massive problem.

I can actually see the raison d’etre behind Mr Maxwell’s (and ACPO’s) viewpoint and comments in that; it is far easier to sit on the fence about cutbacks. In many ways the noncommittal position is expected and probably designed to deflect heat from the ACPO defence of their somewhat untenable position. There is growing pressure from within the service and externally for the rationalisation of police senior management. Realistically and as spokesperson for the ACPO Social Club, how prepared would you be to discuss or recommend any reduction in your social circle?

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