Hants Police feel the pinch…

Hampshire Constabulary logo2Hampshire Police Authority have set the budget for policing Hampshire and the Isle of Wight in 2012/13.

At their meeting on 14th February, the policing budget was set at £305.6 million

That figure includes a Government grant of £3 million for agreeing to freeze the policing component of Council Tax, meaning that for a Band D household it will remain at £146.25 for 2012/13.

The total is however a reduction of £8.5 million on last year’s budget, putting additional pressure on Police services.

This was the last time that Hampshire Police Authority will set the budget for Policing, as it is to be replaced by an elected Police and Crime Commissioner in November of  this year.

The Police Authority report in their press release that they are;

“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 in more detail on the budget, the chairman of Hampshire Police Authority, 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. ”

“The reduction of Government grant for 2012/13 is 6.7 per cent equating to £14 million. 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 will help those struggling financially.”

“The budget 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 efficient and effective service to the residents of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.”

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.”

Ray Turner

Formerly a Civil-Servant and IT Specialist at ONS, Ray is now semi-retired and spare-time self-employed. He contributes to Eastleigh News on a voluntary basis and is also an administrator for the site.