Police Scotland Forecast To Overspend By £11.5m

Police Scotland expects another multi-million pound overspend this year despite an £18 million uplift by the Scottish Government.

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The total forecast overspend is £11.5 million - outstripping last year's £8.1 million budget deficit, the Scottish Police Authority has heard.

Revenue costs, which cover day-to-day expenses such as staff costs, are expected to run £21 million over budget by the end of 2016/17.

This would be even higher than the £18 million revenue overspend in 2015/16.

The force said it will mitigate this with bigger-than-expected cuts to its capital expenditure, fixed assets such as buildings which provide a one-off budget boost when disposed of.

The capital budget is expected to be £9.6 million under-budget, about the same as the final capital underspend in 2015/16.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced an £18 million uplift in the police budget for 2016/17 to combat terrorism but this does not appear to have stemmed the force's cashflow problems.

James Gray, Police Scotland's interim chief financial officer, said: "The main reasons for the forecast revenue overspend are a combination of overspends against budget on both police officer and police staff costs, which is now being managed down, as well as an overspend on non-pay costs, as a result of not being able to realise the level of savings that had been targeted from these budgets.

"A significant exercise has been undertaken by Police Scotland to analyse all non-pay budgets on a line-by-line basis to identify where quick savings could be delivered in-year.

"This has resulted in £5 million of savings being identified, which has been factored in to the forecast outturn.

"However, these are not sufficient to meet the budget requirement, contributing towards the overall forecast overspend.

"At present, the organisation is facing an overspend against budget for the year.

"Further work is now required to manage this forecast downwards over the coming months to bring expenditure back in to line with the budget.''

The SPA's finance and investment committee also approved the sale of a 100-year-old police office in Edinburgh's Old Town.

The building, near the National Museum of Scotland on Chambers Street, has had no operational function for five years and costs £100,000 a year to run.

It four-storey building is currently occupied by three police officers with a small number of staff and is used as an equipment store.

The sale of the £3.75 million former Strathclyde Police HQ on Pitt Street in Glasgow is also expected to be finalised by May 2017.

The committee asked for the sale to be accelerated if possible at a previous meeting in May.

It was declared surplus to requirements in November 2014 and costs about £1 million a year to run.

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