HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS)
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Forces have risen to the finance challenge, but HMIC has some concerns regarding sustainability

Police forces have risen to the financial challenge, cutting their spending while largely maintaining the service they provide the public; but HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has some concerns about how long this will last, as there are gaps in one force’s plans, and most need to transform their efficiency in preparation for future spending reviews, a report published yesterday has found.

Year One: Reducing spending, maintaining service

Over the last year, forces have reduced their spending while largely maintaining the service to the public. HMIC found that forces are on track to balance their budgets: they planned to reduce their spending by £749m by April 2012, largely through a reduction in the workforce of 17,600 (over half of the total workforce reductions they plan to make by March 2015). Crime is continuing to fall – down by 3% (between 2010 and 2011). Victim satisfaction is also up from 83.4% to 83.9%, and the police response to anti-social behaviour has  improved. And although HMIC found that many forces have changed the way they deliver some policing locally (for instance, there are now 2,300 more neighbourhood officers, and 5,200 fewer response officers, contributing to a 5,500 fall in the number of officers in roles that are visible and available to the public), the survey of members of the public conducted for this review indicated that the majority of respondents noticed no change in how often they saw the police.

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