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'Cautiously optimistic' chief considering introducing voluntary exit scheme

Experienced police leader spoke to Ian Weinfass about the cuts reprieve, unfair funding formula and the folly of compulsory severance
Published - 09/12/2015 By - Ian Weinfass - Police Oracle

When the re-calculation of the bungled funding formula allocation was released it showed Derbyshire Constabulary was set to be hit less than any other force.

Mick Creedon, one of the longest serving chief constables in the country he explained in a wide-ranging interview with that regardless of the suspension of allocation changes he is “cautiously optimistic” about the future.

“The formula is over a decade old, it needs a review, I think most agree. The public of Derbyshire have been losing out,” he said.

“I didn't believe it was necessarily going to happen like it said, and we saw two different versions with different figures,” he added, of the draft changes. “I wasn't banking on it. It would only have been a mitigation of some of the cuts we would have had anyway.

“We await the detail, but following the Chancellor's announcement [of protected spending] we know there's going to be a degree of top-slicing but it's a massively healthier picture than it otherwise would have been.”

At a conference in London this week the Home Secretary was reported as warning the police service that reform was not over and that they were not “off the hook”.

But CC Creedon describes the tone of the speech and mood at the event as quite conciliatory. “She said 'stop moaning you've had a good deal', but that there is still a need to drive out inefficiencies... and I kind of agree with her.”

He added he had the impression the Home Office was working on reducing the burden of police funding cuts prior to the Paris attacks.

The 35-year service officer added he was “cautiously optimistic” about the long term funding of his force and hopes top statisticians will be involved in drawing up a fairer funding formula which will not be fixed for as long as the previous one.

As the spending review announcement approached, some of CC Creedon's peers at the National Police Chiefs' Council called for a debate about the introduction of compulsory severance – a tool which he adamantly opposes – before eventually postponing a decision on it.

“Some chiefs thought that with the CSR coming we needed to get a national position on it,” he said. “What a good job we didn't because fingers crossed it's not needed and it won't be. I don't think it will come back soon.”

He explained: “I'm completely against it. We've had to do the same as everyone else [in making cuts] and I haven't ever thought we needed it.

“We have also had relatively low redundancy of police staff.”

He said that there were other ways to make savings efficiently, including through natural wastage.

CC Creedon added that he could appreciate a perceived unfairness in that staff can be made redundant but officers cannot, but added redundancy is based on a role not being needed any more rather than simply cutting numbers. “How would you do that with police officers? You could say you don't need a surveillance unit or something but even then it is wrong.

“The office of constable is valuable and makes police officers answerable to the law not a senior manager or politician.”

He added that he supports voluntary exit schemes though, and is looking at possibly bringing one in, in Derbyshire. “This is even ignoring austerity, it's because there are some officers, mid-service, and it's not a job for them any more. It gives them a chance to go with dignity.

“I've spoken to a couple of chiefs who have said its been a very good scheme for them.”

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