Chief constable’s aim was to highlight essential cash crisis

I’d like to challenge some of the comments made in your Off Message article ‘Cop a load of that’ (Personnel Today, 25 September), and try to put the record straight on some of the issues raised.

The point that chief constable Julie Spence was trying to make, and which appears to have been lost in the general media ‘noise’, is that government funding for essential public services in Cambridgeshire is insufficient.

Population growth, including an increasing migrant population, leads to significant challenges for all of the public sector. The allocation of government grant to public services is often two years behind the actual population figures.

Given that public services are usually demand led, such as policing, then this becomes a real bone of contention. And surely all the people of Cambridgeshire, including migrant workers, deserve to have responsive, high-quality public services.

Within the current financial climate, trying to serve the needs of all people well is simply not possible and, in the meantime, more pressure is being placed upon hardworking police officers and public sector employees within the fastest growing county in England.

Spence is a chief police officer who has spearheaded improvements in relation to diversity issues within UK policing for a number of years. As president of the British Association of Women Police she was instrumental in addressing some of the major gender diversity challenges inherent in the police service and remains one of only a small number of women chief constables in the country.

I’d also challenge the inference that Spence doesn’t talk to her HR advisers. With a relatively small force to lead, she has still recognised the importance of HR in helping to manage her organisation, and one of her top team is the director of people.

Finally, from a county council perspective, I am both clear and confident that our partners in Cambridgeshire Police address diversity and community cohesion issues properly and professionally. As another part of the public sector in Cambridgeshire, we are proud to work with them to deliver a range of shared objectives. So stop the ‘demonising’ comments and recognise what one senior police officer was trying to do: stand up and express her desire to serve all parts of the community of Cambridgeshire well and ensure that the funding to do so was provided.

Stephen Moir
Director of people and policy
Cambridgeshire County Council

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