We need more men and women out there protecting our safety not wasting money on bureaucracy and fat cat salaries for politicians
The Police and Crime Panel met on Tuesday and “approved” the Police Commissioner’s proposal for a 7.23% increase in the Police Precept (+£12 on Band D).
The Panel’s formal response has just been issued and makes interesting reading. In particular there is a reference to the costs of running the Police Commissioner’s Office which was the subject of much discussion in the media and on the door step. This is what they said,
“The Panel acknowledged that during both the Commissioner’s terms of office, the costs incurred by her own office had not been subject to any systematic approach to reducing its budget. This clearly contrasted with the burden on the Force to make savings year on year. The Panel felt that, in future, it was important that the funding allocated to the office of the police and crime commissioner should be subject to at least the same level of scrutiny as other structures funded through the police budget. This could potentially involve the introduction of a required savings target each year”.
In other words, the Panel were unimpressed by the Mayor’s performance. No justification has been given for the expenditure of £850,000 which could be better used for front line policing!
But nobody should think that this means MORE police next year. In fact, there is an intended reduction in Police officer numbers over the year 2018/19 of 111. The overall proposed changes are:
Police Officers 3469 -111
Police Staff . . .2228 +62
PCSOs . . . . . .300 NIL CHANGE
In fact, the effect of the following assumed precept increases:
- 7.23% increase in Precept (£12 more on Band D) in 2018/19 AND
- 7.2% increase in Precept (£12 more on Band D) in 2019/20
- Followed by back to 2% limit in the following two years (at least)
means that the FURTHER cumulative cuts needed over that 4-year period are down from £18 million to a mere £17 million as at December 2017, i.e. the police funding position is better by all of £1 million in total spending of over £1.2 billion (as it’s over £300 million a year)
Largely that lack of any material improvement in the local Police cuts position is because the assumption on police pay rises (as per government indications/actions) is now 2% a year, up from 1% a year previously assumed.
Effectively, local residents are facing 2 years of a massive 7%+ precept increase each year, so as to pay for larger police pay rises, rather than more police officers. This may be the right thing to do for our hard-pressed police officers but no-one should pretend that the increases proposed here actually mean more police officers.
So, the slogan could be “Under the Tory Government and Labour Police Commissioner, Pay More, Get Less!”
Liberal Democrats believe that the position of Elected Police Commissioner should be abolished. We believe that it should be replaced by a panel of Councillors from across Merseyside who also have responsibilities for Community Safety. This would mean strong links between the Police and the other services vital for community safety which are spread across all the areas of a council’s work. Of course, there needs to be a local mechanism for making the Police accountable to the public. However, we don’t think that Elected Police Commissioners do this and are much more expensive than our proposed slimmed down version.
I deliberately haven’t used the name of the Police Commissioner here. I wonder how many people reading this know who it is; or can recall seeing that person in the news or even know that there is one. We need more money spent on the police and less on fat cat salaries for politicians. Liberal Democrats think that is what the people of Merseyside want as well.