England

West Mercia Police authority 'performs well'

A police authority is "performing well" and providing "good direction", according to an independent report.

West Mercia Police Authority's members hold the Chief Constable to account, the Audit Commission and Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary said.

But they said the authority could improve the way it reviews some areas including major challenges to public safety.

The authority said any proposals would have to be considered carefully.

Equal weight

West Mercia Police confirmed this week that 287 jobs are to go over the next three years to make savings of almost £10m.

On a scale of one to four, the joint inspection team assessed the authority's performance as three, which represents good performance.

The authority works well with the force, the Audit Commission and Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary said.

They added it provides visible leadership and listens to local communities and ensures their concerns are given equal weight alongside regional and national objectives in setting the force's priorities and targets.

They pointed out crime was falling in the area and the authority was good at planning ahead and committed to securing value for money.

But they added there were areas for improvement and the authority could "do more to show the public that it is having an effect".

Severe financial climate

The police authority said it drew satisfaction from having been recognised as performing well in achieving value for money and overseeing police spending.

It added 18 authorities have been given gradings so far and only six, including West Mercia, were awarded grade three, with no authorities receiving a higher grading.

The authority said it would now study suggestions for further improvement.

But it added any proposals would have to be considered carefully in the context of the current severe financial climate and "the authority's drive to reduce bureaucracy not increase it".

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