Yorkshire and the Humber police services agree on new approach to regional collaboration (29 July 2013)

At this month's Regional Collaboration Board, all four Yorkshire and the Humber Police and Crime Commissioners and Chief Constables agreed a new approach to regional collaboration. At the same time, they confirmed their full and unequivocal support to regional collaboration, making a clear commitment to work together across a range of vital strategic operational policing areas. 

Currently, the four police services collaborate across many different service areas, from underwater search and roads policing through to scientific and forensic services.  Each individual service is delivered under different models and arrangements, with sometimes one of the four police services acting as a lead, or at other times, operations are devolved to a 'fifth force', known as the 'Regional Policing Team'.

At the Regional Collaboration Board on 5th July, there was unanimous agreement between Chiefs and Commissioners from all four forces that collaboration is essential, but it needs to be less complex and bureaucratic with clearer lines of accountability. 

It has therefore been decided that all collaboration will now adopt a 'lead force' model. This will reduce cost, bureaucracy and will ensure that one local force and one Chief Constable always has direction and control for a particular service area.

This change puts regional collaboration on a more sustainable footing and significantly improves accountability. This is best highlighted by the Scientific Support Service, which is led by West Yorkshire Police, but has benefited the whole region in terms of improved skills, quicker service and better value for money.

This decision means that the regional policing and administration team will be disbanded and that members of roads policing team will return to local forces. Collaboration on roads policing will continue between forces, and there will be no effect on the number of officers on the road in Yorkshire and the Humber, with the same determination to catch criminals and protect communities from harm.

In a joint statement the, Police and Crime Commissioners for Yorkshire and the Humber said, 

"Collaboration is a cornerstone of modern policing and as Her Majesty's Inspectorate of the Constabulary (HMIC) has recently said, it's crucial if we are to meet our strategic policing requirements and financial challenges. We are all fully committed to working together. However, over the past few months, it has become very clear that the current complex regional model needed reshaping.

We have therefore very carefully considered how best to collaborate; a few weeks ago, we asked our Chief Constables to make recommendations on a new way forward. They have done this and have recommended a new  'Lead Force Model'. This will involve each police service taking responsibility for one or more key areas of strategic and operational policing, focusing first on the national Strategic Policing Requirements. 

The change will also mean we no longer need the 'fifth force', which will be disbanded over the next three months, along with the regional roads policing team. This will reduce cost and improve accountability because it  will be much clearer who is responsible for the direction and control of a number of vitally important policing operations.

As we move forwards, we will be working with the four Chief Constables to ensure that each area gets the services it needs, whilst providing maximum protection to the public from criminals who operate beyond our own local boundaries. Critically, the new model means that each force has a key strategic and operational role to play in delivering local, regional and national policing."

In a joint statement the Chief Constables of the Yorkshire and Humber region said,

"As part of the refresh in the approach to regional collaboration the four Chiefs focused significantly upon the need to meet the threats and risks within the national Strategic Policing Requirement, which is a set regional and national commitment concerning our ability collectively to deal with public  disorder, civil emergencies, organised crime and terrorism.

The current work of the regional roads policing in targeting criminal use of the roads was reassessed and the professional judgement was that this could be delivered more impactively by being locally focused within each service, enhancing the local impact and connectivity to communities."

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