Bedfordshire Police is set to receive a share of government funding thanks to an “innovative” tri-force bid.
The Home Office revealed today it has awarded Beds, Cambs and Herts Police £2m for 13/14 and £6m for 14/15 from the Government’s Innovation Fund.
The three forces will use the money to bring together their operational and organisational support services, which they estimate will save them up to £23 million over four years.
Beds Police and Crime Commissioner Olly Martins said: “This is a clear demonstration of Home Office approval of the three forces’ innovative approach to joint working. It will provide us with a better opportunity to make the savings we need to make, without reducing frontline capability. It is a silver-lining at a time of ongoing financial challenge.”
Recent funding proposals from the Government mean that Bedfordshire Police has a £9m gap in its budget over the next two years, with a requirement for further savings expected beyond that period.
Mr Martins said: “This funding will not overcome that gap but it will help us to modernise and transform the way the force works, reducing bureaucracy and making better use of our limited resources through technological innovation, which will deliver financial savings for years to come. This really is a case of invest to save.
“Across the three forces, the award heralds a huge leap forward for public sector working. It will help us make the best use of our services in fighting crime by sharing Operational and Organisational Support.
“The plans show a fundamental shift in the delivery of policing across the three forces, bringing extensive opportunities for cross-border operational activity and resilience.”
The money will be used to give officers the tools they need to work on the spot wherever they are, rather than having to go back to the police station to fill in a form.
Mr Martins said this should also help make officers more visible to the public, which he said is “something people tell me they think is important”.
Chief Constable of Bedfordshire Police Colette Paul said the funding will help the force transform the way it deliver its services to the public, making them more efficient and effective as they seek to protect frontline services.
She said: “I would like to thank the cross-party support we have received from our local MPs, who helped us to achieve such success in bringing this money to our three forces.”
Bedfordshire aims to be ‘an agile force’ that provides solutions from any location, reducing costs while protecting frontline delivery.
Officers will be spending more time doing what the public want. Freed from bureaucracy, they will be able to make timely decisions by using new tools and access to information, capturing data through multiple channels.
While local policing will continue to be tackled according to local priorities in line with each Commissioner’s Police and Crime Plan, all three forces are bound by the Strategic Policing Requirement for joint and partnership working where there are national threats.