A strong focus on providing value for money, investment in priorities important to residents and protecting front-line policing are the key messages as police and crime commissioner for Cheshire, David Keane, sets out the 2017/18 budget for policing.
“This is a budget that will enable the chief constable to protect the public of Cheshire and achieve the priorities of the police and crime plan.”
In developing the budget the commissioner has taken into account the Government’s approach to police funding, the Home Secretary and chief constable’s assessment of national and local risk and threats and feedback from residents and businesses across Cheshire.
Mr Keane said: “The previous chancellor’s commitment to ‘maintain overall police force budgets at current cash levels’ has been confirmed by the current chancellor and remains dependent upon commissioners increasing their local council tax precept by up to 2% in each year through to 2020. However the Government has not honoured this commitment as the provisional grant settlement for Cheshire is lower than implied in 2015.”
Government has stipulated that any increase in the precept above 2% in Cheshire would require a countywide referendum which would incur considerable costs in the region of £1.2 million to the public purse and any reduction in the precept would result in considerable cuts to local police funding. The commissioner has outlined that this is something he is not comfortable with.
“It is with this in mind, alongside strong public support, that I have agreed to a 1.99% increase in policing precept.”
As a result the 2017/18 budget for the Constabulary will be £193 million.
“I think it is important for the public to know that the 1.99% increase, which equates to 6p a week for an average Band D household, will enable an additional £1.16m to be raised to support policing in Cheshire.
However, it does not cover the cost of inflation, existing commitments and priority developments. These additional costs, together with the net change in funding, will need to be met through efficiencies and savings.
“Policing in Cheshire has made £52.4m of savings since 2010 and a further £5.4m of savings have been identified this year with the overall aim to protect local policing services.
“This will enable investments for the upcoming financial year to meet the priorities detailed within the Police and Crime Plan 2016-21, priorities that were developed with residents of Cheshire every step of the way.
“The investments for the forthcoming year will focus on ensuring that our police service is ready to meet current and future challenges in a robust and sustainable way. This will assist to meet the vision for Cheshire to have a police service focused on community policing, putting victims first.”
Priority developments include:
New and cutting edge technology supporting officers to spend more time within their communities and enhance public contact
Provision of a modern, fit for purpose estate connected with the communities it serves, in partnership with others where appropriate
Investment in speed awareness education, safety camera staff, increased motorcycle patrols and drug wipes to improve the safety of Cheshire’s roads
Cyber-crime – including data investigation and training both within the Constabulary, via the website and in the community
Management of sexual and violent offenders including Sex Offender Liaison Officers to protect victims and prevent re-offending
Continuing funding for Non-Recent Sexual Abuse Team (NSAT) to support victims of such abuse and bring those responsible to justice
Communications – supporting the commissioner and constabulary to give the public a voice in policing in Cheshire
Modernising the workforce mix and developing skills fit for the future
Supporting specials and volunteers such as rural watch and many others who provide their free time to support the policing of Cheshire and serve their communities.
“Cheshire residents have my commitment that I will remain focused on ensuring that your police service delivers value for money and will be taking a leading role in scrutinising how your money is spent,” said Mr Keane.