Cheshire Constabulary has been rated good for keeping people safe and reducing crime, according to the latest Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary (HMIC) efficiency report released on Thursday, 9th November.
The inspection looked at whether the Constabulary understands demand, how it uses its resources, and how well it plans for the future.
In particular, the Constabulary has been highly praised for innovation in predicting likely future demand, sound budgeting and its collaboration with other police forces and Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service.
Chief Constable Janette McCormick said: "Investment in IT solutions has enabled us to change the way we work to make the Constabulary more efficient and cost effective".
"Our innovation and inspiration has partly come through priority based budgeting (PBB) which we introduced back in 2014. This is a process which seeks views from staff and officers to find better, more resourceful ways of getting the job done - saving time and money in the process. The yearly review has seen us continue to improve as a workforce and as a service to our communities, so it is very pleasing to see this is being recognised by Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary (HMIC)."
HMIC commended the Constabulary for its approach to collaboration, stating it had excellent partnership and collaborative arrangements for managing its current and future demand, and that it had been swift in realising the tangible benefits of new ways of working from its collaboration with Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service.
CC McCormick said: "Collaboration has played a part in our effort to tackle demand and financial challenges with projects currently ongoing with other Forces and of course our merge with Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service. This clearly shows we are doing everything possible to make us fit-for-purpose as we continue to face incredibly challenging budget cuts."
The HMIC efficiency report highlighted that Cheshire Constabulary has a good understanding of demand, using a strategic threat and risk assessment to examine crime types and trends and predicted growth. The work also looks at the wider effect of crimes on the community not only now, but in the years to come.
CC McCormick added: "As well as analysing where crime is taking us in the future, how it will affect us and how we manage it, we also showed we have a greater understanding of hidden crime, the crime committed behind closed doors such as modern day slavery. We have achieved this through raising awareness and understanding among staff and officers, and by sharing of information with other agencies such as social services and trading standards."
HMIC found the Constabulary's approach to planning for the future outstanding, stating the financial plans for the Constabulary are built on sound planning assumptions.
Cheshire Police & Crime Commissioner David Keane said: "Independent reviews like this are essential to our evolution as a Constabulary, and ongoing improvement is a continuous process for us all. It's a commitment we have to make to the people of Cheshire.
"Despite the changing landscape and resource pressures we're facing, the Constabulary is continuing to perform incredibly well. I'm pleased that we've received plaudits for the way we, as a team, are prioritising keeping people safe and reducing crime. It's also pleasing to get the recognition for the Constabulary's efforts to innovate and create better ways to understand demand and how we use our resources.
"This is a tremendous achievement when you consider that the Constabulary and its fantastic team of officers and staff have managed to attain largely good or excellent feedback against a back drop of severe budget cuts since 2010, some £57million. We have to fight hard to retain this achievement and retain the quality of our frontline services across the county. With potential further budget cuts on the horizon, we need to avoid the thin blue line being stretched too far. It will mean the Constabulary faces some difficult decisions around how it will police the county in the coming years and that's something we'll be talking a lot more about in the next few weeks before the Government's policing budget settlement in the coming weeks."
CC McCormick said: "We are continuing to make investments and savings for the future by managing our estate, through collaboration, and by reviewing our IT processes and operating systems to improve public contact, identify demand and improve officer deployment so that we are as future proof as we can be in these challenging times. We still have more to do in the coming years and face some real challenges ahead."
Photo: Chief Constable Janette McCormick.