Policing in austerity

In the October 2010 spending review, the Government announced that central funding to the police service in England and Wales would be reduced in real terms by 20% in the four years between March 2011 and March 2015.

Our Valuing the Police programme tracked how forces planned to make savings to meet this budget reduction, and published findings in each year between 2011 and 2014.

Since 2014, this area has been inspected as part of our PEEL assessment programme.

Adapting to Austerity: A review of police force and authority preparedness for the 2011/12 – 14/15 CSR period – 21 July 2011

In Spring 2011, HMICFRS carried out an inspection into the preparedness of forces and authorities across England and Wales to make savings over the four years of the comprehensive spending review period.

This review incorporated our inspection findings to provide an independent commentary on the estimated scale of challenge, and how forces and authorities planned to meet it.

Policing in austerity: One year on – 2 July 2012

One year after our initial inspection, we reported on progress and assessed whether there had been any impact on the service provided to the public.

Policing in Austerity: Rising to the Challenge – 18 July 2013

In the third year of our Valuing the Police programme, we inspected how forces were responding to the financial challenges they faced under austerity, and the impact of their austerity strategies on service provision, staff wellbeing and risk management.

Policing in Austerity: Meeting the Challenge – 22 July 2014

In the final year of our Valuing the Police programme, we inspected how well forces:

  • considered their short and long-term finances
  • made their service provision affordable; and
  • focused on cost efficiency.

The findings of this inspection were positive. Across 43 forces in England and Wales, thirty-five received a ‘good’ result, and only two received a ‘requires improvement’ result.

Across the Valuing the Police programme, we tracked how well forces performed using our Valuing the Police grade characteristics.

Promising practice identified in the Valuing the Police programme was brought together in our Policing in Austerity compendium (PDF document).