18 November 2004 | Liam O'Brien
Cleveland Police plans to shave 3.5 per cent off its £10 million goods and services budget next year.
The £350,000-worth of savings will come from renegotiating contracts, said Andrew Larkin, procurement manager.
"We are looking at deals that have often been in place for years," he said.
"You can imagine that there is a lot to go for given that until fairly recently there has been no professional procurement expertise in the department.
We are talking with contractors and looking to reduce the cost of the contracts without jeopardising service."
Larkin said achieving the team's goal, set in 2001, of having all four purchasers professionally qualified through CIPS had improved their negotiating skills.
He added that Cleveland is one of only a handful of police forces in England and Wales to have all purchasing staff professionally qualified.
The purchasing department saved £285,000 last year. Among the deals the team renegotiated was a £142,000 saving on a £205,000 contract to supply system alarms for use in witness protection schemes.
"This was a saving of 69 per cent," he said.
Procurement savings are passed directly to the force's front-line operations.
All police forces in England and Wales has been told by the Home Office to save at least 2 per cent on their budget each year.
Cleveland's total savings target in the last financial year was £2.1 million, but the force beat this by almost £1 million, according to its Policing Plan 2004-05.