POLICE AUTHORITY CONSIDERS POLICE BUDGET
Members of Cheshire Police Authority today considered the implications of the funding challenges facing policing in Cheshire.
Derek Bateman, Chairman of the Authority’s Finance Committee said, “Todays meeting provided an opportunity for the Authority to question the Constabulary’s Chief Constable, Dave Whatton about the measures being put in place to make the necessary £36.5 million cuts over the next four years. We were pleased to hear that the proposed financial plans should go some way to prevent these cuts from undermining front-line services.”
The Chief Constable outlined that savings had already been made this year including work undertaken to partially freeze police officer recruitment, review internal process and better manage capital and estates. There are plans under discussion to review senior police officer posts in order to ensure that the impact on front-line policing would be less affected than originally thought.
The Chief Constable said, “This is the most challenging period in policing I have seen in my career and we need to ensure that we maintain the right people with the right skills in the right place to make sure that the service delivered to the public does not suffer as a result of the cuts required, this includes the people we employ to ensure that the organisational infrastructure is in place to support the front line.”
The draft budget which will be agreed on 22 February suggests that for 2011/12, £6.2 million will have to be cut from the pay budget; £330,000 from overtime budgets, £3.6 million from other non-pay budgets and significant reductions in the costs of estate management.
Steps have been taken to minimise the levels of employee cuts needed, revised estimates show that 62 police constable posts and 27 staff could be lost next financial year.
The Authority is seeking to maintain overall numbers of PCSOs at or above 215 posts in 2011/12 compared with the current 237 posts.
Derek Bateman added, “The decisions we take on 22 February will be tough but we are confident that everything is being done to ensure that we can balance the budget, make the savings and continue to protect the public.”