Derbyshire public to pay more towards policing in face of austerity cuts
Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Charles has had his plans to increase the amount of council tax local people pay towards policing in 2015-16 by 1.99% sanctioned by the Police and Crime Panel.
The 1.99% increase in the precept will generate about £1m per year. This, said the Commissioner, would make a vital contribution in the face of a £5.4m reduction in the Government’s funding settlement that brings Derbyshire’s slice down to £100.400m. The total budget for the Force for 2015-16 is £161.635m.
Although raising the council tax element that goes towards policing will help the Force to balance its budget this year, Mr Charles forecasts that continuing austerity cuts will make current officer numbers unsustainable and create tough challenges in protecting the current level of service in the future.
Warning that the Force is likely to have fewer officers in the next four years than in the 1980s, he said: “Our financial position is managed very well, and in the past this has resulted in little noticeable impact on the quality of response our communities receive. But we simply cannot maintain this position forever.”
He spoke of his concerns about the effect of cuts on tackling emerging threats to public safety such as cybercrime and internet-based grooming – both of which require significant resources to investigate.
While the force was working hard to minimise the risks on public safety, the Commissioner said that the financial situation would also inevitably result in fewer staff, changes to roles and fewer police buildings.
“But despite these current difficulties Chief Constable Mick Creedon and I remain totally committed to shaping a service that will deliver the best performance possible.”
Although some of the Commissioner’s reserves will be used by the Chief Constable to cushion the impact of any staff and officer reductions, the Police and Crime Panel heard that these reserves would also be needed for investment in future crime detection needs, including advanced technology.
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Posted on Friday 30th January 2015