CHESHIRE’S new Tory Police and Crime Commissioner John Dwyer is backing a 2% rise in next year’s police budget – but this would still mean axing 38 cops and 35 back-office staff.
Mr Dwyer must slash the £173m budget by up to £34m between now and 2017 through shrinking the workforce and spending less on buildings, supplies and capital projects.
Commissioner Dywer told media at Winsford Police HQ: “I just want the public to understand how tight things really are because I think there’s a feeling out there that it’s okay.”
He is refusing to toe the Conservative party line which is to freeze the budget for council taxpayers and receive a 1% increase in central government grant for two years in a row as a reward.
Mr Dwyer, whose election campaign was based on a non-political approach, says this would cause the funding gap to grow even greater than under his preferred action plan – eventually leading to an extra £5m cuts, equivalent to 160 officers.
Commissioner Dwyer, speaking alongside Chief Constable David Whatton, warned he would still have to address a potential £29m funding gap and is suggesting an initial £7m savings when he sets the budget in March.
Despite the cuts, Commissioner Dwyer’s Police & Crime Plan seeks to enhance front-line policing by tackling crime and anti-social behaviour, deal with serious and organised crime, support victims and witnesses, reinforce links with the community and promote partnerships with other forces and agencies.