Balancing the books for policing next year


Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne has been encouraged to look at how the force could increase collaboration with other forces before presenting her final budget in the New Year.

At a recent meeting the Police and Crime Panel was given a glimpse of the work underway to balance the books and target investment in 2015/16.

But members were keen for greater sharing of back office services with neighbouring forces to be looked into in a bid to drive down costs.

Since 2010 Sussex Police has saved £50 million, but further savings of £55 million will need to be found over the next four years if predictions about future funding are correct.

Following Treasury announcements that the level of government funding would be reduced next year, two options were shared with the panel, which scrutinises the work of the commissioner. One was for a freeze in Sussex Police’s share of council tax, the other a rise of 1.98 per cent depending on the cap the Government imposes.

Within the report were details of investment that Sussex Police is recommending should be made in safeguarding, visible policing and cyber crime – and these are also priorities for the force this financial year.

Having been told the Police and Crime Plan priorities could be delivered with a frozen precept, members of the panel warned the Commissioner would need to present compelling reasons for any proposed increase to the precept. The panel will formally review the commissioner’s proposed precept for 2015/16 at its meeting on January 23 2015.

After the meeting, panel chairman Brad Watson said it was important for the panel to have an interim report into work taking place. Mrs Bourne also gave an update on police achievements against the Police and Crime Plan between April and September.