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Dorset's PCC and Chief Constable respond to Comprehensive Spending Review

Dorset Police’s Chief Constable and Police and Crime Commissioner have responded to the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review and the likely impacts that the additional cuts will have on the Force.

Yesterday afternoon, Wednesday 26 June 2013, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, announced a further 6% reduction in Home Office funding for 2015/16 on top of the 20% policing fund cut previously announced over the three years to 2014/15. He said that the policing budget would be reduced by less than 6%, but did not give an exact figure.

Home Secretary Theresa May later confirmed that the police grant will be cut by 4.9%.

Chief Constable Debbie Simpson said: “Yesterday’s announcement equates to further considerable cuts from the Force’s budget – this is on top of the £10 million that the Force had anticipated saving over the next two years and the £13 million that has already been taken from the base budget.

“It is therefore inevitable that additional, significant, cuts will need to be made to the Force’s infrastructure and support services. Our workforce has already reduced by almost 500 since 2010.”

Martyn Underhill, PCC for Dorset, said: “Dorset is already one of the lowest spending and lowest funded Forces in the country. I am disappointed that this is not recognised. This announcement impacts hugely on our ability to deliver further savings.

“I am also concerned about the level of cuts to local authorities in the county as the Police are often the service of last resort. Reductions that the authorities may be forced to make to balance their budgets, could increase the demand on the Force.

“I am pleased however, to see the introduction of a number of initiatives to help us. I will be looking closely at the Innovation Fund (50m nationally) to see how this can assist us in driving forward improvements and collaborative working. Further investment in the ‘Troubled Families’ fund is also to be welcomed, as anything that we can do to tackle some of the underlying social issues can only be good for the county as a whole.

“The commitment to maintaining funding levels for counter terrorism and the recognition of how important security is to promoting economic growth is also to be welcomed.

“I will continue to work with our local MPs to press for a fair share of the funding for Dorset.

“The latest cut also reinforces the case for seeking to bring new money into policing through sponsorship and income generation. I have fought to bring an additional 250 special constables to our streets within my term of office. While this strengthens the Force, it doesn’t make up for the loss in paid police officers.

“I believe the public would expect me to explore all sensible options to support the provision of the best possible policing service in Dorset.”

CC Simpson added: “Dorset Police has already made significant reductions in its infrastructure and support services – including savings in buildings and vehicles – and we will continue to examine every opportunity to minimise these costs.

“The savings we have made to date have been achieved through a process of review and reshaping to ensure that staff are best placed to deal with the greatest demands and that we make best use of our reducing resources to deliver a service that reflects the needs of our communities.

“An organisational change programme called ‘One Team’ continues to run to identify and deliver the savings required, while continuing to put the public first. This programme has identified that additional police stations may need to close and front offices will require reduced operating hours. We will also need to look at collaboration with other forces.

“While we have done everything possible to protect frontline services, further cuts will, without doubt, start to impinge on our operational capability.”

Issued: 27 June 2013