Amber Valley Info

PCC Hardyal Dhindsa and Chief Constable Peter Goodman have unveiled ambitious plans to boost police visibility thanks to a budget designed with significant growth in mind.



Budget to raise Police numbers

by Amber Valley Info on Tuesday 15 January 2019

PCC Hardyal Dhindsa and Chief Constable Peter Goodman have unveiled ambitious plans to boost police visibility thanks to a budget designed with significant growth in mind.

The proposed budget for policing and community safety in Derbyshire 2019/20 will be discussed in detail at the PCC's Strategic Performance Assurance Board on 21 January.  However, a report published this week highlights plans to:

In developing this ambitious budget, the Commissioner has worked with the Chief Constable to produce a plan to increase police visibility and focus on areas highlighted to him by the public as a matter of concern. 

The growth in workforce numbers will be afforded by the planned increase in Council Tax proposed by the Government and a contribution from reserves.  Back in December 2018 the Government made it quite clear that in 2019/20 it expects Police and Crime Commissioners to increase the amount of council tax paid towards policing by £24 for a Band D property in the coming year. 

The Commissioner has been calling for additional resources for policing, saying that the situation was putting public safety at risk, since his election in 2016.  While disappointed that the financial burden is being placed on local taxpayers instead of a fairer grant from Central Government, he said today that his first responsibility is to protect public safety.

Therefore, he is a proposing a revenue budget for 2019/20 of £181.016M - an increase of £11.846M over last year's figure of £169.170M.

The budget for policing Derbyshire has seen real term cuts amounting to £40m since 2010 which has resulted in over 400 fewer police officers and a similar reduction in police staff than there were nine years ago.

Hardyal Dhindsa said: "People tell me that they want to see more police officers.  This budget will do that.  It will allow us to increase our workforce by 120: 58 additional police officers and 62 extra members of staff whose work will help to keep more officers out in communities.  It will increase police visibility, it will boost police capacity to focus on areas that recently have suffered from lack of resources caused by imposed austerity measures and it will strengthen our ability to keep people safe.

"The Government clearly accepts that it has cut police funding too much, for too long.  Police forces are under immense strain and public safety has to be our first priority.  It is disappointing that the Government's figures are based on local people paying more, but there is little option but to go along with their plans.  If we didn't the public would be less safe, there would be fewer police officers, there would be more victims and less support for vulnerable people.

"But as necessary and appreciated as this increase is, we shouldn't forget that previous budget cuts mean that we currently have over 400 fewer police officers and nearly 250 fewer police staff than we had in 2010.  We still have a long way to go before we get back to the levels that the Chief Constable and I would feel comfortable with.  That is why I won't rest until the Government finally gives Derbyshire the fairer, long-term settlement that it needs."

Chief Constable Peter Goodman said: "Policing nationally and locally has been an increasing strain for the last 10 years as budgets have diminished significantly, at the same time as levels of demands have increased and threats that we face have diversified and grown.

"Whilst Derbyshire has remained a high performing force throughout this period there is no doubt that cracks have opened and the impact on the health and well-being of officers and staff is being felt.

"Whilst this will not solve all the issues it means we can put 120 people back into front-line policing, which the people of Derbyshire deserve."

Derbyshire Police Federation Chair, Tony Wetton, praised the plans, saying: "This budget will see some much-needed additional officers strengthening our neighbourhood policing establishment.  That's what people want to see, police officers on the beat in our communities.

"But while this is a welcome boost, it will not make up for the years of austerity measures that have seen police numbers fall to their lowest for 30 years and the loss over 400 officers in Derbyshire alone. Policing in Derbyshire desperately needs a significant increase in funding from central Government and we hope the Comprehensive Spending Review later this year gives policing the priority it deserves."

Unison Secretary Marie Davey added: "This budget clearly recognises the valuable role that Police Staff play in policing and community safety and we welcome the planned increase in staff numbers.  We appreciate that the Police and Crime Commissioner is hugely disappointed that he has been forced to find this extra funding from local taxpayers, but the reality is that the Government has left him with little option if he is to ensure the force has the resources it needs to keep Derbyshire safe." 

The Commissioner's survey, running since 20 November 2018, shows that the majority of respondents are willing to pay more towards policing.  Of 1660 responses 71.3% said they were willing to pay £12 or more.

Additional Officers and Staff

The budget enables an increase in Derbyshire's police officer establishment of 58 and a further 62 police staff during 2019/20 to boost capacity, particularly in safer neighbourhood teams and roads policing.

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