During last week’s meeting of the Home Affairs Select Committee Mark Reckless MP took the opportunity to question the Minister for Policing and Justice, the Rt Hon Nick Herbert MP, on the role directly elected commissioners could play in making better use of taxpayers’ money.
Q168 Mark Reckless: In Kent we have already identified £11.5 million of savings through collaboration with Essex, and there are one or two other examples—Herts and Beds comes to mind—where there has been good progress. But generally the savings from collaboration have been rather disappointing, and I wondered whether you thought Ministers might be able to accelerate this, or whether you would look to the directly elected police and crime commissioners to be able to drive out much more substantive savings through collaboration?
Nick Herbert: I think I agree with you that progress up until now has been too slow, but I think that is partly because there hasn’t been the kind of fiscal driver to do it. Now that police forces know that they are receiving less grant for the next four years, that is, I think, changing the incentives, both for chief constables and for police authorities. It is driving much more interest on the part of police forces in collaboration, outsourcing, better procurement, and so on. Because they all share the same desire as we do in the Government, which is to maintain the front-line policing service and the service that the public receives and find savings in other ways, in better use of taxpayers’ money.