In its report, Policing in Austerity: One Year On, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) notes that police forces across England and Wales have risen to the financial challenges of the spending review. However, police forces across England and Wales plan to reduce frontline officers by 5,800 by 2015. In addition, forces have reduced back-office functions, with training and human resources provision reduced by up to 50 percent.
Such significant changes to the workforce will require police forces to look to completely new ways of working. In order to achieve the transformation required and maintain standards, the work and support that can be offered by Skills for Justice at this time may be crucial.
Skills for Justice works closely with all police forces and law enforcement agencies throughout the UK and their associated Government Departments, national assemblies and staff associations.
Through the Policing Professional Framework (PPF), developed in partnership with the National Policing Improvement Agency, Skills for Justice has identified the essential standards needed for all policing roles. The framework enables training to be focused and streamlined to ensure that it is properly targeted and delivered in the most effective and cost-effective ways.
The PPF has enabled forces to focus on the skills needed to meet current and future demands, instead of simply focusing on overall headcount as a measure of capability and capacity. This is critical for meeting those demands with a smaller but better-skilled and more flexible workforce
At a time when direct policing services, such as forensic science and communication rooms, are being outsourced to other organisations, the PPF provides a clear set of competence standards for these roles. This reassures communities that the competence of officers in these roles and the service they provide meets the highest standards.
Working in partnership will be another key part of adapting to these new conditions. To make the necessary savings while providing the best possible service to the public, forces will need to form partnerships with each other, with other emergency services and in better collaboration with related services such as courts and prosecution services.
To help employers develop a better knowledge of their role within the criminal justice system, Skills for Justice is leading a UK-wide project to help employers develop a Justice Sector Awareness Package.
As part of a series of projects funded by the Employer Investment Fund, Skills for Justice is collaborating with employers to develop a user-friendly package to help people in the sector gain a better understanding of their role, how this impacts on other roles in their organisation and related organisations within the wider criminal justice system.