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Police Efficiency

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 12th December 2011.

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Photo of Simon Hart Simon Hart Conservative, Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire 2:30 pm, 12th December 2011

What steps she is taking to improve efficiency within police forces.

Photo of Nick Herbert Nick Herbert The Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice, The Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice

We are supporting police forces in their drive to improve efficiency, including through reducing bureaucracy, more effective procurement, collaboration and sharing services.

Photo of Simon Hart Simon Hart Conservative, Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire

Is the Minister satisfied that local forces are doing enough to share the costs of facilities such as human resources and IT with other public bodies and other emergency services?

Photo of Nick Herbert Nick Herbert The Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice, The Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice

It is important that police forces do more to take up such opportunities. We have already seen an increase in the collaboration between police forces over operational matters, but there are valuable opportunities to collaborate and share services for the back-office functions such IT and human resources, which would result in significant savings. That is what we are encouraging forces to look at.

Photo of Andrew Miller Andrew Miller Chair, Science and Technology Committee (Commons)

I welcome the idea of police forces sharing services, especially in areas such as forensic science. Given the Government’s strategy, is that not likely to result in the reforming of the Forensic Science Service?

Photo of Nick Herbert Nick Herbert The Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice, The Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman would reflect on the mismanagement under the previous Administration that left the Forensic Science Service on an unsustainable footing.

Photo of Julian Huppert Julian Huppert Liberal Democrat, Cambridge

The innovative use of information technology can make a huge difference to police efficiency. Will the Minister have a look at companies, such as Sepura and RealVNC in my constituency, that are working already with police forces in the UK and the US to make it easier for the police to do their job?

Photo of Nick Herbert Nick Herbert The Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice, The Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice

I strongly agree with my hon. Friend about the importance of good police IT, which we seek to improve. It is for forces to commission these services, but we have announced that we intend to set up a new vehicle—a force-owned IT body—to commission IT and seek improvements, because it is so important that police officers have good IT in order to fight crime effectively and not waste time on bureaucratic processes.