This decision follows changes to the operating model which were implemented in 2018.
It takes into account the proven efficiency and effectiveness of the revised arrangements.
The Dog Support Unit has delivered benefits and maintained a level of operational resilience in respect of police dog assets shared across the three police forces.
This has weathered the financial pressures faced by each of the forces.
All three Chief Constables recommend that the collaboration has delivered a level of benefits. However, they also feel that these benefits can be maintained without formal collaboration.
The Chief Constable considers that maintaining formal collaboration across the Evolve geographical area could hinder or impact on future benefits.
The dog support unit has operated under revised arrangements since its operating model was varied in 2018.
This was via a formal agreement between the three Commissioners and the Chief Constables.
The recommendation of the Chief Constables is that the revised operating model should be re-integrated into the individual forces permanently.
Rationale for the decision
The rationale for the Chief Constables’ recommendation is:
- Each force area has achieved different financial and overall efficiency outcomes
- Line management efficiencies have been difficult to sustain for all parties in the collaboration.
- A number of legal challenges have arisen, connected directly and indirectly with dogs support, during the period of formal collaboration. In the judgement of the Chief Constables they have impacted on the cohesion and alignment of the joint unit. In turn, this has impacted on the ability of the unit to deliver the full benefits anticipated at its inception.
- The geographical span of the unit has generated a disproportionate wellbeing impact on staff who are required to deploy across three force areas.
- There has been an impact on the resilience and capability of the Dog Support Unit. This is in light of some of the above factors. That has adversely effected the ability of the unit to deploy with maximum effectiveness. As a result, this is considered to have resulted in calls for service being difficult to meet.
The commissioners recognise that the collaboration has provided benefits in improving the design, implementation and planning for collaborative units in order to realise maximum benefits.
The unit has delivered a joint governance structure which has demonstrated the benefits of close collaboration and the journey to alignment of culture within collaboration teams, has highlighted the need to support teams entering into a collaborative arrangement throughout the change process and post-implementation.
As a matter of law, Commissioners must keep collaborations under review. This is to make sure collaborations continue to deliver specific benefits and sustain those benefits.
Commissioners must also consider the recommendations of their Chief Constables on matters which relate to the Chief Constables’ operational independence.
The delivery of the Dog Support function falls within the operational independence of the Chief Constable.
As such, commissioners must consider carefully recommendations of this kind made by the Chief Constables.
In accordance with the Evolve Collaboration Agreement, a formal Exit Protocol will be agreed. This will regulate the transition period. In addition, it will ensure that the formal collaboration ends on terms which are efficient and effective. They will also build upon the benefits delivered by the formal collaboration.
The Exit Protocol will be published. It l is intended to come into effect on 31 December 2019 (the date for ending the formal collaboration) and to remain in effect until 31 December 2020.
The Commissioners recognise the commitment and valuable professional service provided to the communities of Cleveland, Durham and North Yorkshire by the Dog Support Units.
They are assured by their Chief Constables that no reduction in Police Dog support will result from their recommendation.
Mutual aid arrangements will continue to operate across the three Force areas, to meet particular operational demand.