Addressing officers at the session in Coventry yesterday, the minister explained that collaboration will play a key part in delivering the government’s vision for police reform.
He said that while merging forces – to create ‘regional super forces’ – is not planned, forces cannot operate in silos.
‘As I’ve said before, the era of 43 independent policing fiefdoms is over. Forces need to work together to save money, improve resilience and strengthen the fight against serious and cross-boundary crime,’ he explained.
Mr Herbert explained that police and crime commissioners (PCCs) – directly elected representatives who will help drive priorities – will have a public mandate to drive out costs and maximise investment in policing.
Also, the Police and Social Responsibility Bill, currently going through parliament, will place PCCs and chief officers under a legal duty to collaborate.
This obligation, he said, was something asked for by officers in the Police in the 21st Century consultation.
He pointed to collaborative work that has already taken place. For example, a new approach to buying IT has been introduced along with regulations for procuring goods and services.
Government has also established a policing value for money unit which will bring together resources to support forces where it’s needed.
There are force-level successes too. The minister pointed to four forces in Yorkshire and the Humber who reviewed their non-local services.
Their report found that nine per cent of their combined budgets could be saved – £100m across in five years.
The minister said that government is prepared to step in to direct forces to collaborate but that he didn’t think this sort of intervention would be necessary.
Mr Herbert said: ‘By attending this third national collaboration event, you are demonstrating the desire to ensure that forces work better together. We all know that collaboration has far greater potential. It’s time to change gear, and make it happen.’