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Part of Housing Benefit and Universal Credit in the Social Housing Sector (Regular Payments) – in the House of Commons at 2:03 pm on 12th February 2014.

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Photo of Damian Green Damian Green The Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice, The Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice 2:03 pm, 12th February 2014

I assure the hon. Lady that the response will be published shortly and I hope that that satisfies her.

Our vision is for policing to be digital by 2016 because technology has the potential to transform policing the way it has transformed many other areas of life. Hampshire police already use mobile data on a variety of devices to give officers a full digital experience through their work, and it found that it could demonstrate a 26% reduction in the time spent by officers in stations, and a 20% reduction in mileage covered by patrol vehicles. Again, we are using the police innovation fund to support mobile working and invest in mobile devices, data storage and transmission. Indeed, we found that digital working can increase efficiency, even in forces that are not geographically next to each other. For example, Northamptonshire and Cheshire have united to create a joint shared service, providing 24-hour human resources advice, uniform ordering, and admin functions. I am delighted that 32 forces have now agreed to become digital pathfinders, because the thought that we can transform policing through the use of technology is spreading throughout the police service.

At a time when public spending has been under severe pressure, this adds up to the most significant reform of the police in a generation. It has already led to more effective and efficient policing, which delivers value for money for the taxpayer and ensures that significant falls in overall crime continue year on year.

Of course the challenge does not end there. We need to make further cuts to public spending and the police must play their part, despite the protections that we have been able to provide. Importantly, we are taking a long-term view on police funding. Last year, we announced that the Government would undertake a fundamental review of the formula used to allocate funding between police force areas. That complex process will take time, but the first phase of the work—an internal analytical review—is already under way, and we will consult a full range of partners, both inside the police and the PCCs, at the appropriate point as the work develops.

I recognise that the funding settlement will create further challenges for PCCs and forces, but it will also bring opportunities, particularly for those prepared to innovate, collaborate and transform, drive efficiencies and deliver even better policing across England and Wales. I commend the motion to the House.