Police Accountability Board Minutes 12 December 2023

Welcome and introductions.



PFCC Stephen Mold (SM)

Paul Fell (PF)

Helen King (HK)

Vaughan Ashcroft (VA)

David Peet (DP)

Nick Alexander (NA)

Louise Sheridan (LS) – attended for 2nd half meeting.

Kate Osborne (KO) – attended 1st half of meeting.

A/CC Ivan Balhatchet (IB)

ACC Tuckley (AT)

ACO Paul Bullen (PB)

Colleen Rattigan (CR)

C/Supt Emma James (EJ)

Insp. Ross MacDonald (RMacD)


  • SM welcomed everyone to the meeting.



Previous minutes and action log

  • Minutes of previous meeting were circulated with the meeting papers. No changes have been requested.
  • Outstanding actions from the Action Log have been updated.



Draft Budget for 2024/25


  • VA presented paper
  • VA thanked budget holders as they were all well engaged, and therefore more confidence felt in final report


  • 4 – SM asked if this included changes in FCR? – VA FCR included as far as pay awards but not in terms of growth.
  • 5 – this should be in 2024
  • IB asked if there would a be a slight increase on the grant awarded for uplift? – VA this decision will not be made until Thursday. VA to await decision.
  • SM asked about increase in scale points (incremental progression) and if this was considered within the Budget. – VA noted this and said it would need to be considered.
  • VA highlighted that the PCSO budget was same, but more realistic in terms of actual spend.
  • VA mentioned that fire recharges had been updated across all organisations, and now appeared true and fair.
  • 3 – SM asked what the baseline budget was for the ‘Observatory Scheme’?- VA replied it was in the region of £150k. CR added that it is run by 2 police staff (which is in the budget) and other staff are l funded from elsewhere.
  • SM noted this appeared as a good news story
  • 7 – gives breakdown of the variances.
  • SM asked about the architecture tool and whether any work had been done that will create future cost saving opportunities or generate some efficiencies.
  • PB confirmed that this was the plan.
  • 7 Discussion around the Mitie Custody Contract
  • SM asked if there was lessons to be learned in regards to things that may have gone wrong in order to learn from for future business cases?
  • AT – have identified that we tried it. It didn’t work and have shown we have learned from it. We now have brought back in house to be provided by Northamptonshire Police.
  • CR – the programme tool from Clare Chamber’s should cover historical information relating to projects and will therefore feed into lessons learned and future planning.
  • VA inflation on utilities is more than planned but this is in discussion with Leanne Hansen to remove from Property Maintenance budget.
  • VA – pensions – McCloud remedy – is confident that there will be grants to cover this.
  • 5 – discussions around levels regarding the costs of the additional officers needs to be considered after next year in the MTFP
  • It was noted that the budget seems in a healthy position this year, but comments that it would be prudent to look at sustainability of budgets in future years given the levels of uncertainty. Budget confirmations are expected 14th December but likely to be restricted to one year forecast.
  • SM commented that foundations for following years should be considered and look at more sustainable funding moving forwards.
  • In relation to the Capital and Estates Master plan. VA identified the good work that had gone into this to make it as realistic as possible.
  • DDaT – There were some discussions in relation to amounts in DDaT capital plans. PB stated that this included replacement for STORM and also an upgrade for another system.
  • SM thanked officers for their time on the production of this budget. And complimented the improvement of the process year on year. SM noted it felt in a good position but need to consider sustainability as a forward plan. Suggested the consideration of operating model or technology improvement that could support future proofing of Northamptonshire Police.


Assurance Statements

The Commissioner noted the significant pressures that inflationary increases were placing on the police budgets. He also noted and commented on the assumptions that had been made in the paper and the likelihood that the maximum precept limit for policing would be set at £13 per household (BAND D property). This will impact the medium-term financial plan and likely leave a deficit from 2024/25 onwards.

He reminded the Chief Constable that at this point, the proposed budget was not balanced. As such, the paper required additional work and will need to be discussed again at the January Accountability Board along with the proposed savings for 2024/25.

The Commissioner noted the good performance of the Force in managing its allocated budget this year and he commended the work undertaken to get the proposed budget paper to its current position.



Investment Proposals


  • The Commissioner advised that he had read all of the investment proposals in advance of the meeting.
  • His early observations were that he was supportive of some, not supportive of a couple and a few needed some more work before he gave them further consideration.
    The investment proposals were then discussed more fully.
  1. Automated technology and FCR Uplift


  • This investment is an uplift of FCR staff to mitigate the impact of increasing demand.
  • There will also be investment into new technology which automates some of the processes to improve how the force communicates with victims of crime and non-crime incidents.
  • The Commissioner was completely supportive of the staff uplift (16 additional people in 2024/25)
  • This makes absolute sense as they are working at 114% capacity.
  • The Commissioner was not convinced by the demand reduction case based on the Humberside model from Salesforce.
  • AT agreed but felt there was benefit in the customer service tool that may improve customer satisfaction.
  • The Commissioner argued that without a proper process to make sure good information was entered at the point of contact, there is no guarantee that the information shared will be good information.
  • PB commented that there were several elements to the Salesforce bid and a conversation is needed on automation, integration, and benefit realisation.
  • The Commissioner agreed that a tool was needed, but he is not yet convinced that the bid, in its current format is the solution.
  • He suggested that the force need to be clear on what they need and engage with the wider market to see what other solutions are out there.


The Commissioner was supportive of the staff uplift to FCR in year 1.

He will review for the requirement for 15 additional staff in year 2 at a later date.

The Commissioner was not supportive of the automated technology offered by Salesforce in its current format.


  1. Learning and Development Uplift


  • Following a comprehensive review of the force’s training provision and with the uplift of police officer numbers it has been determined that there is a significant gap between demand and capacity of the learning and development department.
  • Additional investment will ensure adequate resources and facilities are in place up to 2027.

The Commissioner was supportive of this investment.


  1. Social Media Management Platform – Orlo


  • The impact of social media on police investigations is a serious and growing problem.
  • This investment will increase the number of licenses, reduce the risk of unmanaged social media accounts and improve the ability to support our communities through this technology.

The Commissioner was supportive of this investment.


  1. DDaT Enterprise Tool.


  • This investment will see the purchase of a technical solution to streamline processes, release capacity and improve the quality of service provided to all three organisations (Police, Fire and OPFCC).

The Commissioner was supportive of this investment.


  1. Domestic Abuse Fund.


  • The force is currently scoping the establishment of a Domestic Abuse Superhub.
  • An end-to-end review of Domestic Abuse has begun to better understand good practice and how the force can improve its model for delivery and performance for victims.
  • The force has asked for a 2-year ring fenced fund of up to £1m to deal with demand effectively and prevent further harm.


The Commissioner is open to investment in this area however, the end-to-end review needs to be completed before determining the amount that will be set aside to support it. The review is expected to be completed by the end of January 2024.


  1. Facial Recognition
  • The force is seeking investment for Live Facial Recognition (LFR) and Retrospective Facial Recognition (RFR)
  • Whilst the commissioner recognised the benefit of the technology, he considered that it might be better to invest in RFR first, to build trust and confidence in the technology with the public.
  • The A/Chief Constable argued that there are some strong benefits to LFR, particularly in relation to the most dangerous and prolific offenders. He was of the view that 80% of the public would support the use of LFR.
  • C/Supt Emma James advised that the majority of the software required and costed within the business case, will support both technologies. On Silverstone, having their own LFR will enable them to cover all exits.
  • The Commissioner was supportive of purchasing the software and using South Wales for Silverstone next year.
  • He believed the case for LFR still needs to be developed and the earlier introduction of RFR will assist this.
  • PF commented that the Commissioner was trying to make the right investments, but it was not possible to fund all of the business cases the force had put forward.
  • There was a discussion about the potential for wireless and redeploy able CCTV to use in conjunction with Local Authorities and other partners that the OPFCC and Community Safety Partnerships were exploring.
  • PF advised more information, and a demo will be available in the New Year. This may open-up other options for consideration.


The Commissioner was partially supportive of investment in Retrospective Facial Recognition. Further work is required before he would consider investment into Live Facial Recognition


  1. Force Intelligence Bureau Uplift


  • This investment was not discussed as there would be no money to fund if the projects the Commissioner has agreed to support are ratified.
  • He would be open to review this if there was an option to invest in some sort of automation process rather than three elements covered in the paper.

This investment is not supported in its current format.


  • In summary the Commissioner reiterated that he is keen to support the investments that will make a big difference. There is simply not enough money for all of them so difficult decisions will need to be made in January when the budget settlement will be clearer.
  • The Commissioner commended the force on the quality of the papers submitted for consideration.
  • The prioritisation of the investments was also very helpful.
  • The A/Chief Constable asked if the Home Office had confirmed when the settlement would be communicated.
  • HK confirmed that it was expected imminently.
  • The Commissioner suggested that when the settlement is published, he and the A/Chief Constable could discuss further but it is for the A/Chief Constable to prioritise the recommendations based on what will make the public safer and what the force can afford to deliver.
  • AT advised that he would not be supportive of any inter-ops work if this meant that the force did not have the money to deliver its priorities.
  • PF confirmed this is a completely different budget and the force had already agreed to fund a number of other projects outside of these seven investments
  • Should they wish to reconsider any of those to free up more money he was more than happy to support that conversation.




  • No further business was raised