The lack of collaboration between police forces in how they spend £1.7bn a year on uniforms, cars and other kit is leading to “mind-boggling” variations in specifications and prices paid, a Whitehall watchdog has warned.
The National Audit Office found a 400% difference in the prices paid for high-visibility jackets by the 43 forces in England and Wales, with the cheapest at £20 and the most expensive £100.
The official auditors also found that forces had more than 20 different specifications for the high-visibility jackets they were buying.
They estimate that forces could save up to a third of their costs in these areas by agreeing a common specification such as that agreed by the prison service for its uniforms.
Difficult one, this. On the one hand, we’d quite like a professional, efficient police service. On the other hand, think what they’d then be capable of.