100 More Police Jobs At Risk
Hampshire Police have just set their budget for the next year - but it could see more police jobs lost.
Hampshire Police Authority has agreed the policing budget for 2012/13.
The budget has been set at £305.6 million which is a reduction of £8.5 million from last year’s budget.
As part of this budget Hampshire Police Authority agreed to freeze the policing element of Council Tax, meaning this part of the Council Tax bill for a Band D household will remain £146.25 for the year.
But there are now warnings this could lead to up to 100 police jobs being axed, including officers.
In opting to freeze the policing element for Council Tax the Authority will receive a Government grant of £3 million, equivalent to a 3% increase in its share of Council Tax for 2012/13.
The Police Authority is confident that Hampshire Constabulary will continue to deliver the savings needed throughout the Comprehensive Spending Review period and deliver the same level and quality of service as previous years.
Commenting on the budget, Police Authority Chair Councillor Jacqui Rayment said: "These are very challenging times for us all. Hampshire Constabulary’s budget has been reduced by £8.5 million.
“The Government general grant paid to Hampshire Police Authority is being reduced by 20 per cent in real terms over the four year Comprehensive Spending Review period. We are entering the second year of this and the reductionof Government grant for 2012/13 is 6.7 per cent equating to £14 million, however, inflation and other budget pressures mean that £20 million of savings need to be found to balance the budget.
“Members debated, for three hours, the implications of increasing or freezing the policing element of Council Tax this year. Freezing the policing element of Council Tax willhelp those struggling financially.
"The budget approved by the Authority today sets out our approach to reducing our costs and supports Hampshire Constabulary’s plans to adapt and improve the way the force operates in order to continue to provide an efficientand effective service to the residents of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.”
This is the last Hampshire Constabulary budget that will be set by Hampshire Police Authority, which will be replaced by an elected Police and Crime Commissioner in November this year.
Chief Constable Alex Marshall said: “I am disappointed by this outcome but respect that this was a matter for the Police Authority to decide upon.
“These are tough times for everyone and difficult funding decisions for the police have to be made as with all public services.
“We face many challenges over the coming years but having taken an early lead to plan ahead I am confident my organisation is in a strong position to do so.
“Last year we made £16 million worth of savings; we plan to save a further £20 million next year and are now working towards saving in excess of £50 million by 2015.
“My priority is to protect our local visible policing teams, to providing an excellent service, to reducing crime and making the most of our resources.”
Commenting on the decision, the Chairman of Hampshire Police Federation, John Apter, said the following;
"We are very disappointed with the decision made by Hampshire Police Authority. Hampshire Constabulary is already dealing with deep and damaging cuts following the comprehensive spending review. The Force have had to findup to £50 million in savings when at the same time doing everything it can to protect the visible part of policing. The Chief Constable has warned that as a result of this decision he may have to loose a further 100 posts, this is in addition to the 1100 posts (400 officers and 700 staff) already lost due to the cut in budget. There is no more slack in the system so something has to give, if it is to the determent of visible policing then the Police Authority have not served the communities of Hampshire and the IOW well".
"I acknowledge that this was not an easy decision for the Police Authority to make. I want to thank those members who supported our position and spoke with passion and conviction, I know that these members are as disappointed as I am in the decision reached".
'Those we represent see the Police Authority as the Guardians of the service, those officers will feel this is a further kick in the teeth'.