Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Charles today warned that Derbyshire Police was still facing a tough financial struggle despite news that it would not be hit with further budget cuts beyond those anticipated next year.
Mr Charles was speaking after the Government announced how next year’s police settlement would be allocated across the 43 forces in England and Wales. Derbyshire is set to receive £110.1m for 2013-14.
Mr Charles, Derbyshire’s first elected Commissioner, said: “The funding settlement is pretty much as we expected and we are pleased that the Home Secretary has kept her promise to protect next year’s funding from any additional reductions. This follows pressure applied from newly elected Police & Crime Commissioners who met Theresa May on 3 December.
“Derbyshire simply cannot withstand any further cutbacks to its policing grant without serious implications to performance. To date, Derbyshire Police has already delivered savings of over £20.3m to balance its budget. These reductions have been painful and have resulted in the loss of 159 police officers over the last two years and some 277 police staff. Any further cuts would put us in an extremely precarious position and make our job to protect the county much more difficult. My priority is to keep residents safe and I have made it very clear that I will fight any future cuts to our budget at the highest level.”
Derbyshire remains one of the lowest funded forces in the country due to the way the Government’s funding formula is applied. This means the force has lost out on millions of pounds over the past few years in favour of other areas.
“While it is a relief we will not have to make additional cuts than those expected this year, the formula means we have lost out on some £1.9m of funding to protect other forces from funding losses,” said Mr Charles. “Some of these forces are already better funded than Derbyshire and face smaller funding cuts. Over the last seven years Derbyshire Police has lost out on a total of £30m of funding to protect other forces from funding losses due to this unfair system. This is equivalent to an annual loss of some £13 per band D taxpayer in Derbyshire. It is disappointing that Government have not taken the opportunity to address some of the inequalities of funding across Commissioners budgets in the funding system.””
“In order to bridge the gap, Derbyshire Police is working closely with other forces across the region, which are also losing out on Government funding, to deliver even more cost-effective services. The force is already an efficient force. Our spending is considerably less than the average and we are doing all we can to manage this unique financial dilemma effectively.
“So far we have demonstrated our ability to rise to that challenge by working closely with our partners to continue to cut crime and improve public confidence. However, the funding settlement has not eased our path and Derbyshire Police will unfortunately continue to face tough choices over the next five years.”
Next year’s funding arrangements include, for the first time, a separate allocation for 2013-14 in relation to the Community Safety Grant, which will be rolled in to the main police and crime grant for 2014-15. The Community Safety Fund is a new fund created from former drugs, crime and community safety funding, established to help PCCs invest in their local priorities. Commissioners can use this to invest in tackling drugs, crime, and community safety activities.
Media Enquiries: Sallie Blair, 01283 821012 / 07702 541401
Posted on Thursday 20th December 2012