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.’