Gloucestershire Branch Police Superintendents’ Association

Date:   9th January 2012

Dear Mr Garnham,

Mid Term Financial Strategy Precept

This letter represents the serious concerns I and my colleagues have, that you as an Authority are considering further cuts to the Constabulary that as a consequence will reduce even further any Police Service to the people in this County.

I am writing to you as Chair of the Gloucestershire Branch of the Police Superintendents Association England and Wales.  I represent within Gloucestershire Constabulary all Chief Superintendents and Superintendents.  They are the Senior Police Leaders within the organisation discharged with the responsibility for delivering an effective police service to the communities within Gloucestershire.  Their Commands are diverse and cover the full range of policing functions found within a modern police service.

My reason for writing to you as discussed is to emphasise both to you and the Gloucestershire Police Authority our deep concern regarding any decision to deter from our mid term financial planning that underpins the Policing Plan, a plan agreed in full consultation with the Authority, as this will have such manifest consequences on both our ability to deliver effective policing in our neighbourhoods and a safe level of performance in terms of protecting communities and individuals from harm.  We would see no alternative but to again remodel both our structures and ethos of policing that will provide a level of services that will be detrimental to the communities that we serve.

The Police Authority quite rightly have oversight of the Constabulary and hold the Chief Constable to account, who in turn holds myself and my senior colleagues to account to deliver against the agreed plan.  We both understand and welcome your role in this democratic accountability.  Whilst this is the case, there is also an accountability held by you, as Police Authority members, to ensure there is an efficient and effective policing service delivered to the people of Gloucestershire.  There is a considerable risk, that if the Police Authority choose to take what is effectively a one off, ‘in year’ funding from the Government to compensate for a central Government’s request for 0% precept increase, this will significantly increase the already significant budgetary pressures on the Constabulary, that is already making ‘real’ funding cuts of over £18 million during the period of the medium term financial strategy, in effect adding a further cut of £1.3 million or 7.2% from the operational  budget the following year.

If such a decision is taken this would clearly indicate to this Branch that the Authority are not apolitical in terms of its accountability for ensuring an efficient and effective police service, but one where a decision has been made in which an inference can only be drawn that is heavily influenced by party politics?

This is an extremely unusual step for my Members and the local Branch to take and is the first time that this Branch has taken this extraordinary position in our history.  It reflects the very deep concern that I and my colleagues share, but one that is so important to the future of the Gloucestershire Constabulary that we need to ensure that Authority Members are truly cognisant of the consequence of this very important decision.

I would invite you and your Authority Members to make contact with my Branch colleagues to have at least a dialogue before making what is probably one of the most serious decisions for this Constabulary in the last 30 years.

Yours sincerely

Gavin Thomas

Detective Chief Superintendent

Chair Gloucestershire Branch Police Superintendents Association England and Wales