Police HR jobs to go as forces focus on front-line services

HR jobs in the Police Service are likely to plummet as forces look to plough more resources into the front-line operations, experts have warned.

Angela O’Connor, chief people officer at the National Policing Improvement Agency, told Personnel Today that the trend to slim down support service functions across the public sector would see police forces reducing HR numbers.

Last week Personnel Today revealed that the British Transport Police (BTP) would cut 20% of its 140-strong HR workforce.

The BTP job cuts will make way for a business partnering model and a new business ‘hub’ dealing with transactional issues, freeing up resources for front-line services. In a similar move, the Metropolitan Police Service’s HR transformation programme, will see the force shed a third of its HR jobs this year.

O’Connor said: “With [police] resources under huge pressure, sensible senior executives are looking at all their support service functions and making sure that what they’re getting is really good quality strategic advice and really slick transactional services. Some of them will be looking at reductions.”

The move to cut resources from support functions like HR is part of a continuing trend across the public sector, according to O’Connor. But she called on HR to lead the way.

“What we do in HR is spend our lives telling people how to do organisational design and development. To get credibility with managers we better have done it ourselves and to have done it well.”

O’Connor said she was working on a knowledge management programme to pull together good examples of forces that have already made their support functions more effective.

Linda Scott, BTP’s HR director, added: “There is undoubtedly scope for collaboration between forces to learn from each other on how to [reduce] resources and provide more effective services.”

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