AVON and Somerset Police have been praised for responding “extremely effectively” to spending restrictions imposed by the Government in an HM Inspectorate of Constabulary report.

In the fourth annual inspection, the force was one of five nationally labelled as “outstanding” for taking the necessary steps to ensure a financial position for the short and long term and for its efficiency, and “good” for delivering policing in an affordable way.

Acting Chief Constable John LongJohn Long said: “This HMIC report is warmly welcomed and shows as a force we are moving forward in the right direction.

“Like all publicly-funded bodies, the police are having to find innovative ways of working more efficiently with the limited resources available.

“It is great testament to our staff that they have embraced the challenges posed by the tight financial restrictions placed on us and are committed to keeping our communities feeling safe and are working to continue to drive down crime.”

Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “I am pleased that HMIC recognise how Avon and Somerset are positively responding to the financial challenges and have awarded us an overall judgement of ‘outstanding’, which is the highest banding and only given to the top police forces.

“The constabulary continue to be focused on delivering the level of service local communities expect ensuring they are safe and feel safe while making savings.

“It is tough and finding savings of £36million over the past four years has not been easy.

“We have had to make difficult decisions, however we are taking a long-term view and the necessary steps today to ensure the future of the service.

“HMIC recognise that Avon and Somerset is not only committed to finding savings but also to being innovative.

“Residents should be reassured that Avon and Somerset Constabulary’s focus on fighting crime has not been deterred despite a 20% cut from central government funding.”