Nottinghamshire police budget woes

A shrinking purse for policing in Nottinghamshire makes preparations for this year’s budget the toughest yet, Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping said today.

Friday, 23rd January 2015, 1:00 pm
Cllr Alan Charles Police and Crime Commissioner for Derbyshire

With less money coming in, his report to the Police and Crime Panel on 2 February sets out his plans for a revenue budget for 2015/16 of £188.2m - smaller than last year.

Amounting to £5.6m less than the 2014/15 budget, it actually reflects a loss of around £10m when taking into account inflation and a £6.8m cut in the Government’s funding grant announced in December, Mr Tipping said.

“In all, since 2010-11, Nottinghamshire has seen its funding dive by over £42m,” he added. “With no let-up in sight, we continue to face the huge challenge of making even more savings to fill the gap.”

It is in the face of these unprecedented funding cuts and in line with public feedback that the Commissioner intends to increase the police portion of the council tax - known as the precept - by 1.98%. This rise amounts to £3.42 a year for an average household, taking the total amount of council tax paid towards policing for a Band D property to £176.40.

Seventy two per cent of the funding for the budget comes from the Government, and the remaining 28% from the precept.

Mr Tipping said today: “This has been another tough budget, the tightest yet, and it comes with difficult choices. The lack of certainty over future funding levels makes things more challenging, but we can be sure that further significant cuts are in store.

“Nevertheless, this budget does provide the resources for new and different ways of achieving safer communities, such as prevention work to reduce demand and a renewed focus on the needs of rural areas.

“We have also been able to protect spending on community safety for schemes delivered with our partners, which will benefit all our communities.”

He went on: “But with less money in the pot, we have reluctantly had to accept that our recruitment plans need to be put on ‘hold’ for this year - though we will review the position after the General Election and the next Comprehensive Spending Review due to be held in the Autumn.”

Chief Constable Chris Eyre said: “The force is working closely with the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner to meet the promises set out in the police and crime plan and ensure the community is kept safe.

“Our delivering the future project is continuing to look at the force’s structure and shape our resources while facing cuts greater than anticipated, but we do have detailed plans in place to address this.

“We will see fewer people employed within Nottinghamshire Police in the future, and there are some significant challenges ahead. We are unlikely to be able to recruit further officers and staff in 2015 /16 but we need to protect front line services wherever possible in order to reduce serious risk to the public.

“The PCC is committed to protecting the community safety budget, and we are determined to ensure the policing service in Nottinghamshire is fit for the future and suits the needs of the public.”

Continuing efforts to make ends meet are outlined in the Commissioner’s Budget Report. These include carrying out plans to redesign the police estate, making it more suitable for modern day needs and reducing overheads. The use of better technologies will go hand in hand with remote working, ensuring that officers are out in the communities rather than in stations.

Robust plans are also in place to deliver savings both locally and regionally, and the work started on the transformational change programme, Delivering the Future, is expected to enable balanced budgets to be set in the future.

Regional collaboration between the policing areas of Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire has been developing for several years, bringing both financial and performance benefits, the Report points out. Two major areas of transformation to be delivered through regional arrangements relate to IT and Corporate Services, which Nottinghamshire is currently working on with Northamptonshire and Lincolnshire.

Collaboration at a local level is also being developed with local authorities and other emergency services.

With regard to police personnel, the Report puts the number of full time equivalent (FTE) police officers at 2,033 in 2014/15 but at 1,922 in 2015-16, and FTE police staff at 1,597 in 2014-15, but at 1,512 in 2015-16.