As I sit to write this blog my holiday feels like it was some time ago, although I have only been back a week.
My week ended with a meeting with our PCC, and the Chiefs and PCCs of Northamptonshire and Nottinghamshire, and our wider senior teams too. We spent time looking at how we currently work together and how we can work together into the future. That future includes the expectation that our budget will be further reduced, with our Government Grant (which accounts for over 60% of our income) likely to fall by between 25-40%. That is being considered in the spending review, and we will find out the exact detail in November.
Building on the discussions that our own Executive Group and our Strategic Chief Officer Group meetings have already begun, we agreed to develop our existing work together as we seek to maximise how we spend every penny that we get to best effect on behalf of the public. That means working with Northamptonshire and Nottinghamshire in a Strategic Alliance looking at how best we can collaboratively approach the challenge of reducing budgets whilst enhancing service delivery to protect the public.
That said, we are at a very early stage in our considerations. There is an enormous amount of detailed work that now needs to be undertaken before any final decision is taken.
During the rest of the week I did media and academic interviews on a very varied set of topics. That included facial identification technology, the role and future of police leadership, how I became a Chief, and the Tigers prospects for the new season. Hospital Radio also let me choose five records too; I shan’t spoil the surprise prior to broadcast across Bank holiday weekend.
Elsewhere I spent a morning in London at the Home Office, where I chaired a group looking at 101.That discussion included other options to phoning us; face to face, online offer and accessibility all featured. I also met with staff who deal with the contracts to allow us to purchase uniform on a consistent and national basis. I then hot footed, well slow trained it back from ‘the Smoke’ to join the St Matthews neighbourhood team with the Contact Project in some community cricket. We must make sure that we are focussing such diversionary work in the right places. Our presence needs to be evidence based and proportionate too.
International Association of Women in Policing
I concluded my week by seeing off PCs Laura Nutt and Steffi Barber to represent the Force in Cardiff at the International Association of Women in Policing event. Both were going from very interesting operational weeks into a conference environment. It was good to see two excellent representatives heading west on our behalf.