The introduction of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 placed new duties on Commissioners and Chief Officers to collaborate where it is in the interests or effectiveness of their own and other police force areas.
Working with other organisations can bring benefits such as increased resilience and economies of scale. In light of the current financial challenges faced, the collaboration agenda is central in achieving the savings required with the priority being to provide the most efficient police service possible to the people of Gwent.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was agreed by the Welsh forces involved in the collaborative projects at the All Wales Policing Group held on the 26th and 27th March 2014; the decision confirming the adoption of the MoU by Gwent was signed by the Police and Crime Commissioner on the 14th April 2014 (decision log PCCG-2014-026).
The existing collaboration initiatives Gwent are involved in across England and Wales include:
Tarian is the Southern Welsh forces response to serious and organised cross-border crime, and contributes considerably to their capacity to deal with such crime. Launched by Dyfed-Powys Police, South Wales Police and Gwent Police, Tarian has been in operation for over 10 years and is resourced by officers from across the southern Welsh forces as well as other agencies, such as H.M Revenue and Customs and the Crown Prosecution Service. Tarian works continuously to keep the public safe from serious and organised cross border crime, disrupting and pursuing the criminals involved and recovering the assets derived from their criminal activity. Tarian provides greater security for our communities than one force can provide alone.
Wales Extremism and Counter Terrorism Unit (WECTU)
WECTU was established in 2006 and created one Special Branch for the whole of Wales. Its remit covers international terrorism and domestic extremism and is driven by the Government's Counter Terrorism Strategy known as CONTEST. Through working collaboratively WECTU aims to work more effectively in its response to the threat from national and international terrorism and extremism. It seeks to keep the people of Gwent safer by building confidence and trust in our communities by working with the public and partners to identify, target and disrupt terrorists and extremists.
Joint Firearms Unit
The Joint Firearms Unit has been established to provide a larger and more resilient pool of firearms expertise across Gwent, South Wales, and Dyfed Powys Police Forces. This partnership not only offers potential savings in the use of buildings, but also generates savings in procurement and training. By making sure that officers are trained and deployed in the same way the force will provide an improved service.
Joint Legal Services
In 2009, Gwent and South Wales Police Authorities agreed to establish a Joint Legal Services provision, with the aim of providing an enhanced service for both areas. This joint approach to Legal Services was the first of its kind in the police service in Wales and England and has resulted in the reduction of outsourced work, greater economies of scale, improved performance, greater specialisation and improved development opportunities for staff.
HR Strategic Director
A shared Strategic Director of Human Resources was appointed for Gwent and South Wales Police to achieve a closer strategic focus on human resources issues, objectively assess opportunities for collaboration, and enhance the existing human resources functions in both Forces.
Joint Scientific Investigation Unit
This facility is shared by Gwent, South Wales and Dyfed Powys Police. It aims to increase capacity, resilience and the range of services offered to police officers and major crime teams. The Unit will also save millions of pounds in public money and provide a better service for victims of crime.
This project aims to improve efficiency in managing procurement by establishing a 'virtual' Joint Procurement Unit for Gwent, South Wales and Dyfed Powys. The project seeks to secure economies of scale, improve procurement efficiency and the provision of clear policy guidance and best practice.
Gwent Police shares its air support service with South Wales Police. However, the Government have mandated air support provision as a national service and Gwent will participate to maintain capability within Gwent from July 2013. The National Police Air Service (NPAS) project aims to increase overall air support availability nationally by 8%, providing continuity in the quality of air support and greater security for the people of Gwent.
A joint forensic services agreement for the collaborative procurement of forensic science services for South West England, Wales and North West England (comprising 14 force areas) is in place. In pooling its expertise it aims to develop a regional centre of excellence for forensic services.
Shared Resource Service
With the support of the Welsh Government, the Shared Resource Service (SRS) has created a collaborative ICT function for Gwent Police and Torfaen and Monmouthshire County Councils, allowing the ability to expand in the future to introduce further partners.