Strategic alliance an introduction

Devon & Cornwall Police and Dorset Police: Working together in a strategic alliance

The Chief Constable's Debbie Simpson and Shaun Sawyer

How we started on the road to an alliance

Devon & Cornwall Police and Dorset Police formally agreed to go into a strategic alliance in March 2015.  Being in an alliance means the two forces are working together in over 30 administrative and operational business areas.

This agreement follows the announcement in December 2013 from the chief officers and police and crime commissioners from Devon & Cornwall Police and Dorset Police when they first agreed to explore opportunities for greater collaboration.

The aim of the work was to look at how the two forces could maintain effective policing whilst also reducing costs by working more closely together.

This was consistent with the direction set nationally by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) and the Government, where neighbouring forces are encouraged to work more closely together.

What is a strategic alliance?

Working in an alliance is not the same as a merger. The HMIC defines a strategic alliance as: “An agreement between two or more forces to pursue a set of agreed objectives, while retaining separate identities.”

Devon & Cornwall Police and Dorset Police will continue to have their own distinct identities and will pursue police and crimes plans agreed locally with their elected police and crime commissioner.

Work on the alliance so far

In each business area, a single team and management structure, made up from people from both organisations, is being set up to work on behalf of both forces.

Any costs and savings which come from joining these business areas together in the strategic alliance will be shared between the two organisations in proportion to the size of each force.

The common areas of work included within the strategic alliance accounts for almost 40% of the total activity of the two forces.

These business areas include: admin services, finance, human resources, fleet services and information and communication technology (ICT) together with some specialist policing teams. Several of these, including the admin services and finance departments were among the first to go-live as alliance teams in April 2016.

Meanwhile planning continues to design and bring together organisation structures, processes and technology.

The timescales, budget and resources associated with the alliance programme all remain on track. Business areas that have gone live as part of the programme are already achieving significant levels of savings. As the day-to-day delivery from those business areas matures, as processes embed fully and as further business areas come online, the expectation is that the annual savings from alliance departments will increase year on year.

As well as saving money, working in an alliance will have other benefits as the organisations share more assets, resources, expertise and best practice.

As more teams begin to join together you may see more officers from each force working side by side in your area.

Business areas within the alliance - Progress so far

  • The areas of police and support work included within the strategic alliance agreement accounts for almost 40% of the total activity of the two forces.
  • The first alliance teams went live in April 2016. By December 2017 this had risen to a total of 19 alliance departments and teams that are now working as single units supporting the operational and administrative needs of both forces. More than a 1,200 officers and staff work in these shared business areas.
  • Business support areas where alliance teams have already started working together include administrative services; audit, insurance and risk; business support services; finance; fleet services; information assurance; information compliance; ICT and the people/HR functions.
  • Operational policing activities where alliance teams have been established include ANPR; firearms/armed response; crime prevention; dogs; integrated offender management; operations planning; roads policing and operationscommand.             

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