COLUMN: Painful cuts call for Herculean efforts

Police and Crime Commissioner for Derbyshire Alan Charles unveils details of his Crime Prevention Fund
Police and Crime Commissioner for Derbyshire Alan Charles unveils details of his Crime Prevention Fund

In a painful era of stringent government cuts to policing services, Derbyshire Constabulary has made Herculean efforts to sustain a quality policing service.

This efficiency has recently been recognised in high places (the latest report by her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary).

It also appears that current funding formula proposals acknowledge Derbyshire has been underfunded historically.

When the chips are down, what will this mean for us? Hopefully, it will translate into a fairer share of the funding pot.

But later in November the Chancellor will reveal the outcome of his Comprehensive Spending Review which will give an indication of the depth of public sector cuts. How this will impact on us will not be known until the police grant is announced in December.

And, despite the indications from the funding formula proposals I am far from counting our chickens. The only certainty is that policing will continue to face financial challenges.

The cuts imposed on us by the Government since 2010 have, year-on-year, led to increasingly difficult decisions in the struggle to provide a policing service that our residents and businesses expect.

Our police force has changed the way it operates, and continues to do so – not only in Derbyshire but in all forces up and down the country.

The impact of the cuts has led to fundamental differences in the way the police can be contacted, and buildings have closed to save money.

We have been cutting to the bone in some areas to provide the money needed for tackling more important matters such as child sexual exploitation, domestic abuse, sexual violence and hate crime.

But there is no getting away from the fact that we have hundreds fewer officers and staff than we need.

In short, cuts have consequences. And the public is paying the price.

I am, however, confident that within Derbyshire Constabulary everyone is doing everything they can to protect the public and sustain community safety levels. But I also know that this gets more difficult as more funding is taken away from us.

One thing that never changes is our officers’ devotion to duty and their determination to keep our county safe from harm.