Damning Northamptonshire Police report: 'Bold and unprecedented' call for funding from inspectors welcomed by force bosses
Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) admitted a decade of under-funding has had a 'damaging' impact on the force following its damning report.
At a press conference this morning (Friday, September 27), Chief Constable Nick Adderley said it was now down to him and the police and crime commissioner to get more money from the government.
"We can't keep expecting the residents of Northamptonshire to make up that shortfall through additional tax - that's not fair," he told the Chronicle & Echo.
"The government's central grant now has to step up and support us."
HMICFRS found a wide range of issues with Northamptonshire Police during an inspection in January, according to the report, but the chief constable insists significant improvements have already been made.
Ch Cons Adderley said the force was 212 officers short of the amount needed to meet demand while having around £6m less from the government based on the average funding per head.
Extra money and officers would allow them to fully staff teams and have more people available to take on proactive work or efforts around supporting people with mental health issues.
"This will give us that flexibility and ability to go proactive, to get the early intervention side of it right, and provide those essential services that support the ladies and gents out there doing the front-end side of policing," he said.
Northamptonshire police, fire and crime commissioner Stephen Mold said he had never heard HMICFRS describe a force as 'structurally under-funded' before.
He agreed that more money is needed even though additional officers from his office and Boris Johnson's recent pledge will take the numbers up to the most the force has ever had.
On the state of Northamptonshire Police, Mr Mold said he has also never been more confident that the force is improving, despite some dark days.
"This job has been quite tough over the last couple of years and there really have been times when I've wondered whether Northamptonshire Police can actually turn it around," he said.
"This is the first time I've been really optimistic, I can see it happening and I have never been more optimistic for Northamptonshire Police than I am today."
Police Federation representative Sergeant Sam Dobbs believed the report was fair as officers were struggling despite being 'as hard working as they have ever been'.
"They're tired, they're worn-out, and the demand and complexities they are having to face, which they do on a daily basis, has been hampered by some really opaque systems," he said.
To Ch Cons Adderley, he added: "You're certainly not pulling the wool over anyone's eyes when you say the improvements have started, but we have a long way to go yet."