In the wake of the recent economic downturn, the reality of the fiscal crisis for public sector organisations has been to rethink service delivery as the resources available to them diminish. The Police Service is no exception. Financial constraints on police expenditure have prompted forces to devise practical ways of reducing the cost of policing, without compromising front line services, and with reduced numbers of police officers. While the established practice of partnership working was boosted with the advent of Neighbourhood Policing, collaborative working in an era of austerity could offer an effective and efficient response to limited resources and budgets. Research on the police in partnership with other public sector bodies is therefore timely and fitting. Potential questions to be explored include: • Have financial constraints resulted in more pragmatic and innovative approaches to partnership working? • With fewer collaborative resources to draw upon, what has been the effect on the range of community services and provisions the police deliver? • What challenges have public sector austerity cuts presented to the police for meeting the needs of vulnerable groups in the community?
Working with Cleveland Police, the broad aim of this scholarship is to examine Cleveland’s response to austerity measures, partnership working and service delivery. Adopting a qualitative methodology field work will include participant observation, focus groups and semi-structured interviews, conducted across a number of police, multi-agency, and community-based settings in the Cleveland Police force area.