Wiltshire: Police Budget Cuts

The man in charge of policing in Wiltshire has written a letter in response to the government announcement of the Police Grant Settlement.

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Chief Constable Patrick Geenty says:

The announcement of the police grant is a stark reminder that austerity remains very real indeed for Wiltshire Police and we will continue to have some challenging financial savings to make.

The reality for us is a further £3m reduction in central government funding, equating to 5.1% cut in funding to Wiltshire Police.

By 2017, Wiltshire Police will have lost 25% of its budget, whilst facing increasing demand for services. In the past four years we have worked really hard to make the required savings. We have reduced staff numbers and reorganised and transformed the way in which we work in order to minimise the impact of the cuts on the delivery of frontline services to the public.

However, it is clear to me that in the face of these new reductions, I will have to explore all options in order to continue to protect the public of Wiltshire, in the knowledge that we will have between £3-4m to save during 2015/16 dependent on the Commissioner’s decision further to consultation on the police element of council tax in the new year.

Wiltshire Police will need to be courageous, ambitious and above all innovative in order to meet these savings targets. We will continue with our programme of transformation which demands that we think in radical new ways about the future model of policing in Wiltshire – and this will at times mean we will need to make difficult but necessary decisions.

I echo the sentiments of Sir Hugh Orde (Association of Chief Police Officers) that although investment in the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) and the national Police Innovation Fund is understandable, most forces would prefer that this money remained within our local budgets so we can spend it where there is most need.

I will be watching with interest the recent suggestions regarding the regionalisation of policing and I will be working with the Commissioner and other south west forces to see how we can collaborate more closely.

I will continue to ensure that we protect the people of Wiltshire, but I have to acknowledge that things will become even more challenging, with further savings forecast of £7.8m between 2016-2018. I want to assure the public that we are doing all that we can to deliver under this austerity.

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