Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “The Autumn statement from the Chancellor announced that there would be “no real terms” cut for policing as a whole over the comprehensive spending review period “when local income is taken into account,” which means local council tax.
“Today the police provisional settlement makes it clear that there will be some reductions in funding at a local police force area level. The main police grant for Avon and Somerset will be cut next year and over the next four years, however the position is much better than the more drastic funding situation we had been expecting.
“We will have to find savings of over £15 million by the end of the comprehensive spending review period. Throughout the next phase of making savings, I will seek to protect police officer and PCSO numbers and ensure that the service to the public is maintained and improved by delivering efficiencies from local partnerships, police collaborative working and investment in technology. These new ways of working will help protect the visibility and availability of front line officers even as overall headcount reduces over coming years.”
The changes in funding for Avon & Somerset are:
- 2016/17 will see circa. £1 million cash reduction in core grant for Avon and Somerset however this is £3 million better than we expected;
- Over the comprehensive spending review period we estimate that we will have a cash reduction of £4 million of core funding.
- There is a new transformation fund £76.6 million to invest in cross force specialist capability and new technology; a national uplift in armed police capability; and a joined up programme of digital transformation – we do not yet know how this will be manged
- The provisional settlement does not set out funding for 2017/18 and beyond.
Costs for policing will continue to increase for inflation, rises in employment costs and increased employment taxes. After these cost rises, we estimate that our 2020/2021 deficit position will be £17.5m before savings.
Another important funding stream from the Ministry of Justice (worth £1.8 million this year to Avon & Somerset PCC) has not yet been confirmed for 2016/17 and beyond.
Future savings and investment strategy
Avon and Somerset Police faces significant changes and challenges in meeting demand ,including significant year on year increases in safeguarding activity and the need to address other key areas such as cyber-crime. The PCC has set out her ambition to utilise the significant collaborative opportunities available with regional forces and other key partners to make savings over and above the identified level so that investments can be made in the areas of increased demand – the scale and areas for this investment and the detail of the collaborative opportunities will be agreed with the Constabulary over the next few weeks.
Posted on Thursday 17th December 2015