Merseyside’s Police Commissioner has today unveiled her seventh annual report informing the public, partners and stakeholders about her work over the last year and describing the challenges facing Merseyside Police.
Jane Kennedy is required by law to produce an annual report. She has released her 2018/19 Annual Report after presenting it to the Police and Crime Panel, the body which scrutinises her work, at a meeting earlier today. Panel members, who had previously provided feedback on a draft version of the report, formally endorsed the 47-page document.
The report details the extensive work carried out by the Commissioner over the last financial year, between 1st April 2018, and 31st March 2019, and gives both the Panel and the public the chance to review and appraise her progress in delivering her police and crime priorities.
Following previous feedback from the Police and Crime Panel, this year’s report contains a section which describes the challenges and realities of policing over the last year, which came on the back of nine years’ of government cuts and has left Merseyside Police’s workforce being reduced by nearly a quarter. It also includes an infographic on the demands placed on the force in a single day and the significant increases that have already been experienced since 2017, when a similar graphic was produced for Jane’s Police and Crime Plan.
Jane said: “Producing this report each year provides me with a valuable opportunity to reflect on both the challenges and the achievements from the previous 12 months. Never is this truer than this year, in what will be my last full year in office.
“While a huge amount of good work is taking place across the Force, it is important to explain the reality of policing in 2018/19 and this report is a very honest appraisal of the situation we dealt with throughout the year. It also contains examples of the very dedicated work being undertaken to address and manage these challenges and provide the best possible service to the people of Merseyside. Despite the challenges, Merseyside Police continues to be rated as the best performing urban force in the country. This isn’t my assessment alone, it’s backed up by independent assessors from HMICFRS.
“During my time in post, I have made improving efficiency and driving vital funds to frontline policing a hallmark of my tenure. I’m pleased to say that compared to my predecessors, I have reduced the cost of the scrutiny of the police on Merseyside by 43%. This has saved more than £1m each and every year. Money which has gone straight to Merseyside Police.
“I have also saved vital funds through my 10-year estates plan, which while reducing the force’s annual running costs is also making their buildings fit to fight crime now and for the future.
“The next Commissioner is inheriting a fine force, one they will be privileged to oversee and I hope I have played my part in helping to ensure they are in a strong financial position going forward.
“I still have another year in office and there is much I wish to achieve. I will be working right up to the point that I handover to the next Commissioner. My campaign for fair funding for Merseyside will continue right up to that point and I am excited and determined to use my remaining time to help establish Merseyside’s first Violence Reduction Unit which is introducing a new public-health approach to preventing and tackling serious violence.
“Policing, and politics, never stand still. There are signs that the government’s attitude towards policing is now changing. I hope that instead of undermining and cutting our police service, they will now move towards a position of support, encouragement and resourcing. That has been my approach since day one as Merseyside’s Police Commissioner and it will continue to be until my final day in May 2020.”
“Finally, releasing my seventh annual report gives me the opportunity to once again thank the men and women of Merseyside Police, who do such a fantastic job often under incredible pressure. Their continual commitment, professionalism and passion for the job makes it an honour to perform this role.”
The report, which has been produced as an interactive PDF, includes infographics, diagrams and case studies illustrating the Commissioner’s work engaging with the communities of Merseyside, holding the Chief Constable and his team to account, and delivering the Victim Care Merseyside service, which provides support to help vulnerable victims of crime to cope and recover.
The Commissioner has a statutory responsibility to produce an Annual Report and, as she has done for the last five years, Jane took the decision to provide a draft version to the Police and Crime Panel, so members could provide feedback and suggestions.
Jane added: “I’m grateful to the Panel for their constructive suggestions and I hope that the final report will be both useful and accessible to the public and to stakeholders.”