POLICE in Cheshire must make £1m in savings this year to balance their budget.
Cheshire Police Authority chairman Peter Nurse said that the credit crunch, rising inflation and a council tax cap have all helped to curtail their planned spend.
He said: “For 2009 the Government have increased the grant for policing by 2.5% and have limited our council tax increase to a maximum of 3%, an extra 8p per week on a Band D household.
“The credit crunch has also affected policing and like everyone, we have had to manage the effects of higher inflation. The increased money from the Government and from council tax will not cover inflation.
“The recent fall in interest rates means that we have not earned money that we would normally have gained on our balances.
“This, together with growth that cannot be avoided such as handling calls and forensic science means that we face a budget gap of £1m after having already identified nearly £2m of savings.”
The Authority will now work with new chief constable David Whatton to identify where further savings can be made.
Mr Nurse added: “The additional council tax investment made in 2008 will be protected and we are seeking to maintain officer numbers but we will have to find more savings from cuts in our support services by redesigning our administrative and business services.”
Additional funding from last year’s controversial 17% increase in the Authority’s cut of council tax was used to tackle serious crime, and economic and electronic crime.
It also paid for more sex liason officers to monitor sex offenders in the county and for resources to deal with information from the community about extremism.
It was also invested in the Automatic Number Plate Recognition System, witness protection and care and new customer service desks giving feedback to people who report a crime on how it is being handled.
A Cheshire Police Authority ‘Have Your Say’ meeting takes place at 7pm on Tuesday, January 13 at St Mary’s Centre, St Mary’s Hill, off Castle Street, Chester.
Mr Nurse will chair the meeting where the results of a survey on policing priorities will be discussed as well as the new Chief Constable’s objectives and the budget.
There will be a question time giving members of the public to question the Authority and senior police officers.