Tough decision for police chief Spence

As a key senior figure in Britain’s police force, Julie Spence, chief constable of Cambridgeshire, is responsible for some of the key decisions that affect our national policing.

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

So when she spoke this morning on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, to raise the issue of the funding gap she has been forced to contend with, it was unlikely to have been a spur of the moment thing.

Spence said that the rapid increase in levels of immigration into her county has caused a spike in demand for both translation services, and funding for involved criminal investigations that now stretch overseas. Her budget doesn’t account for this.

‘We recently had a murder - it was a Lithuanian on Lithuanian and it could easily have happened in Lithuania,’ she said. ‘But it didn't, it happened in Wisbech - so one of my staff spent a lot of their time in Lithuania trying to get underneath what was actually happening with the crime and criminality. This brings costs that you wouldn't have had before, which means something else has to give.’

How to allocate funding when your budget is stretched and your priorities conflicting is a headache for any decision-maker. MT interviewed Spence earlier this year for her take on how to do this successfully. ‘I make decisions on a mix of evidence and intuition,’ she told us. ‘But ultimately, it has to feel right.’ It’s an opinion that most in business would surely agree with.

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