Alan Charles, Derbyshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, has welcomed the findings of a report by the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Report – Financial Sustainability of Police Forces in England and Wales, published today (18 Sep. 15)
Following publication, Meg Hillier MP, Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts, said: “Neither the Home Office nor local forces really understand the impact of cuts to local policing.
“Too often cuts to services lead to ‘cost shunting’ with the police acting as the default support provider. There’s little understanding in the Home Office and in many forces of local demands.” (link to full Parliament.uk news release here)
Alan Charles said: “The Committee clearly recognises the challenges we, like all police forces, are facing as a result of the relentless grant reductions imposed upon us by the Government.
“With the likelihood of a further 25-40% cuts to be announced by the Chancellor this Autumn, in his latest Comprehensive Spending Review, and a rejig of the funding formula which will see winners and losers, it is shocking to read that the conclusion of all these reductions is not known by the very people making them.
“Having already delivered nearly £30m in savings, we now need to reduce demand on the services we deliver in order to make the books balance in future. To do this we are talking big changes, not simply reducing the stationery bill!
“However, the position is exacerbated as other key public services are also seeing their funding reduced and are therefore cutting back themselves. The upshot is that the default ‘go-to’ service for people needing help is often the police service. And don’t misunderstand me, the police are willing, but I don’t think that they will always be able without posing a risk to public safety. There is a knock on effect.
“We need some realistic guidance, based on reality, from the Home Office as to just how they expect us to deliver cuts and services in the future. We need a joined up strategy, not knee-jerk reactions which are leading to a myriad of different ‘solutions’.
“In Derbyshire, we have been praised for the way we have looked after our budget and HMIC’s assessment of our efficiency, value for money and savings plan has been consistently ‘Good’ but in order to meet the efficiency savings demanded of us, the force is getting slimmer all the time.
“As this report highlights, it’s time to think again.”
Media enquiries: Sallie Blair 01283 821012
Posted on Friday 18th September 2015