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Commissioner strives to protect police officer strength in budget plans

Derbyshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa has unveiled details of his first budget as Commissioner which aims to safeguard crucial frontline services in the face of ongoing cuts.

The Commissioner presented his financial arrangements for 2017-18 to members of the Strategic Governance Board detailing how much funding he requires to secure vital policing services to protect the public over the next 12 months.

Derbyshire Constabulary faces further reductions to its central policing grant in 2017-18. Although the Treasury has pledged to protect the policing budget nationally, this was on the assumption that PCCs increase the amount of money people pay towards policing by 2%.

As a result, the Commissioner has had no alternative but to recommend a 1.99% increase in the amount of council tax local people pay towards policing in 2017-18.

The increase will see householders in a Band D property paying £180.60 per year – a £3.53 increase on last year and 6.8p extra per week.

It will generate an extra £1m for the Force – the equivalent of 20 full-time police officer posts – and supports a police establishment of 1,700 officers, 1,263 police staff and 165 PCSOs.

The Commissioner’s proposals were approved by the Board which gives Mr Dhindsa the go ahead to recommend this budget to the Police and Crime Panel for consideration and approval.

“I’m deeply regretful that like so many public services we are in a position where council tax is the only viable means of plugging the gap in our central funding,” said Mr Dhindsa.

“I’m very grateful, however, that the vast majority of the public are in support of this small rise to maintain our strong performance and keep our streets as safe as they can be as shown in my recent consultation survey.

“The current financial position is through no fault of our own and it is thanks to strong leadership and prudent resource management that we have been able to continue delivering excellent results, as evidenced by the outstanding grading from HMIC before Christmas.

“I’m under no illusion that the coming year will continue to stretch our resources to capacity and put our workforce under immense pressure. Our people are our greatest asset and they have a proven track record of excelling in the face of adversity.

“The precept increase will go some way to protecting our dedicated team to continue their valued work keeping the public of Derbyshire safe.”

The cost of policing Derbyshire in 2017/18 will be about £163million.

About two thirds of this is funded by Government grant and about one third is from Council Tax.

Derbyshire Constabulary faces a £8.6m deficit to its funding up to 2020/21 and it is anticipated that council tax precepts will continue to increase by 1.99% annually up to this point to help meet the shortfall.

Housing growth in Derbyshire brings additional pressures on policing and the increased council tax income that it generates will be offset by further cuts in the policing grant from central government.

The Commissioner’s recent budget survey found strong support for a rise of 1.99% or higher (73%). Among this number, 28.9% said they were prepared to pay more than this amount towards local policing.

Mr Dhindsa will be working closely with the Chief Constable in 2017/18 to identify potential savings to the budget while exploiting opportunities for delivering the Police and Crime Plan objectives.

Ends

 

Media Enquiries:   Sallie Blair - 01283 821012 / 07702 541401

 

Posted on Tuesday 24th January 2017
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