In a bid to protect policing in Derbyshire from further Government cuts in the near future, Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Charles is proposing a 1.99% rise in the contribution that local people pay towards the Constabulary.
His proposals – which he will present to the county’s Police and Crime Panel on Thursday, 28 January – amount to an extra £3.46 per year for the average Band D householder.
Commissioner Charles said today (22 January 2016): “I am proposing this increase in order to stabilise our budget position which is still having to deal with the effects of the swingeing cuts that began in 2010.
“This course of action is in accordance with the requirements of the Home Secretary and Chancellor. Otherwise, we would be unable to manage cash neutrality as the Government’s settlement nonetheless includes a reduction to the police grant for Derbyshire of around £600,000.”
He went on: “Although the position today is not as bad as we anticipated, this is not the end of the story. If you think things are too good to be true, they probably are.
“As things stand, we are still having to bear the brunt of the previous years’ cuts, some of which still need to be fully implemented. And the uncertain economic climate makes no promises as to our financial future.”
The Commissioner’s budget proposals are based on a net revenue budget of £162.8m for 2016/17. Prior to his plans being put before the Police and Crime Panel, they will be discussed at his Strategic Governance Board meeting on Tuesday, 26 January at 2pm. This is an open meeting, with members of the public invited to put questions in the first half hour.
Commissioner Charles does not forget the difficult choices made since 2010 to meet the challenges of austerity – choices that led to a freeze on police officer recruitment and a reduction of around 344 officers and 294 staff posts. He is, however, pleased and relieved that there is now much to be positive about.
He pointed out: “Since 2010 we have delivered more than £30m in savings and reduced our borrowing to the point that we now have healthy reserves available for future investment in IT, operational priorities and strengthening our collaboration ties with the Fire Service.
“Despite the tightening of belts all round, the Constabulary has maintained its performance. The goal now is to maintain policing resilience and ensure that we police according to areas of greatest need.”
As part of this, Mr Charles said PCSO numbers would be maintained, investments made in call handling and control room staff and the number of officer recruitment rounds increased from two to three. By continuing to identify savings, the force would also be able to invest in different services to meet future risks including cybercrime, child sexual exploitation, counter terrorism, human trafficking and IT, he said.
However, the Government’s very late announcement and unexpected change in its funding for the police has, he pointed out, left insufficient time for changes to be made to his budget. He will therefore be reporting in April on plans for investments when he and the Chief Constable have had chance to consider the options and the public’s needs.
The Police and Crime Panel will hear that already, Chief Constable Mick Creedon has commissioned a detailed review of the way policing is delivered by the Constabulary, including neighbourhood policing. He has also commissioned a detailed assessment of the operational risks the Constabulary faces together with an assessment of the level of investment required to address them.
Other priority areas to be assessed with a view to investment to fill the risk gaps include: protecting vulnerable children and adults from harm; forced marriage; investigation of historic allegations of abuse; making good use of technology to counter organised crime and free up police time; and maintaining the force’s firearms capability at a time of increased national policing risk.
- Anyone wishing to tweet a question to the Strategic Governance Board can do so via @DerbysPCC and @DerbysPolice before or during the first half hour of the meeting by using #askSGB in the text of the question. Anyone wishing to email a question can send it to the Chief Executive (firstname.lastname@example.org). Members of the public can also ask questions in advance via phone or letter.
Media Enquiries: Sallie Blair 01283 821012 / 07702 541401
Notes to Editors:
The precept proposal involves a Band D council taxpayer making an annual contribution to policing of £177.07 in 2016-17, rising from £173.61 in 2015-16.
Posted on Friday 22nd January 2016