Hampshire police spent £2m on consultants drawing up £28m cuts plan

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POLICE spent £2.1m on consultants to draw up plans to make £28m worth of cuts, The News can reveal.

Hampshire police has been battling to balance its budget, with around £24.75m to be saved in the next four years.

The force undertook a ‘comprehensive review of all expenditure’ with Deloitte – one of the so-called big four accountancy firms – and Worcestershire-based firm Process Evolution.

Deloitte was paid £1,963,661 and Process Evolution, a consultant firm specialising in working with emergency services with evidenced-based software, got £190,641.

Police said the consultancy firms had ‘business transformation skills’ Hampshire police did not possess.

Deloitte helped the force draw up ‘200 savings opportunities’ to cut spending.

They included with now-approved proposals, discussed at the Hampshire Police and Crime Panel, to axe 160 job posts in the force.

Terry Lowe is director of force development, a department which reports to deputy chief constable Sara Glen on ‘transformational change’.

The senior director said the spend gave a ‘significant return on investment,’ with consultants contracted between 2015 and 2017.

But John Apter, who represents the rank-and-file as Hampshire Police Federation chairman, criticised both the spend on consultants – and the size of the force development department.

He said: ‘The force development team is an ever-growing part of the organisation which seems to have more people working in it than are patrolling the streets.

‘Whilst I completely understand and accept we need people working in the background to make sure the constabulary is fit for purpose, I question whether the cost of the force development team and the consultants that go with it are appropriate in the current climate.’

In a statement, Mr Lowe said using consultants meant they could limit the number of police taken off operational duties.

He said: ‘Consultants provide business transformation skills that the constabulary does not possess.’

Mr Lowe added: ‘Consultancy support has also assisted us in identifying efficiencies across the medium term to financial year 2021/22.

‘We are confident that spending this sum on expert advice enabled us to achieve greater savings than we would have if we had tried to undertake this process alone.’