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Thursday, 25 December 2014

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Cumbria police ‘handling cuts well’

Inspectors say Cumbria’s police force is “performing well” in handling funding cuts by delivering savings and protecting the front line.

Richard Rhodes photo
Richard Rhodes

Officials add that the force is on track to achieve millions of pounds in savings over a number of years and has “clear plans” – while police chiefs say they remain committed to providing the best service they can afford.

HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has been tracking how forces have made savings following a Government spending review in October 2010.

Roger Baker, of HMIC, said of Cumbria police: “HMIC was reassured by the coherent business plan and by the leadership team’s determination to make further improvements to efficiency and effectiveness.”

Cumbria’s crime commissioner Richard Rhodes said he welcomed the verdict, adding he held the force to account to ensure that savings were delivered and plans made for the future.

“These are challenging financial times and there are still significant savings to be made in the future,” added Mr Rhodes.

“However, good financial planning is in place to ensure resources are used to keep Cumbria a safe place.”

Cumbria’s deputy chief constable Jerry Graham added: “The constabulary remains committed to providing the county with the best possible policing service we can afford through this challenging financial time.

“We have delivered savings by restructuring and changing the way we work while protecting the frontline as much as possible.

“We are continuing to look at new innovative digital and mobile methods of working to help officers remain visible and accessible in communities.”

There has been a drop in overall police numbers in recent years from a high of 1,198 officers before budget cuts began to bite.

The number is set to drop to 1,070 by 2017. But HMIC says the force has increased the proportion of the workforce allocated to the front line.

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