The Chairman of Humberside Police Authority has said the joint financial planning of Humberside Police and Humberside Police Authority will show its worth over the next four years as they look to claw back almost £30 million.
At a recent meeting, the police authority’s Councillor Chris Matthews and Chief Constable Tim Hollis, pledged a joint commitment to continue to deliver the best possible service to local communities, in spite of the reduction in budget.
Whilst the significance of the challenge cannot be underestimated, the police authority and the force stated that careful planning would ensure change is managed and measured.
They say work is already underway to refine a clear plan that will allow the strategic priorities to be achieved, the financial challenges to be met and ensure that the public continue to be protected from harm.
In light of the Government grants settlements, the force and authority are looking to save £10.6m in the coming financial year (2011/12), with over £5.4m already identified.
The authority also agreed to freeze council tax for 2011/12 at the same level as last year, and agreed to use £6m of its reserves to help manage the substantial front loaded budget cuts of £7.1m in 2011/12 and £8.7m in 2013.
It was already announced last week that 142 jobs, including beat bobbies and detectives, will be lost at Humberside Police Force through voluntary redundancy and retirement.
At the recent meeting, Coun Chris Matthews explained how preparations had begun a long time before the Comprehensive Spending Review, to balance the budget and make savings.
The chairman said: “The police authority and the force have been planning for austerity for a long period of time and have been able to supplement some of the comprehensive savings.
“This extensive forward planning will pay off over the next four years, we know there’s still a lot of work to do, but the chief constable has robust plans in place to effectively manage the cuts.
“The authority will be releasing £6m of reserves to assist the chief constable in implementing this change over the next two years and in particular, to ensure quality policing is delivered and try and avoid the need for compulsory redundancies.”
Humberside Chief Constable Tim Hollis said: “Although the plans have been developed under pressure of time and money, they have been built upon the sound foundation of the successful changes we have introduced across the force in the last six years. We build on the strength of our current structure- neighbourhoods; incident response; investigation; specialist protective services and good business management; all of which will be maintained, albeit in a moderately reduced form.
“We have also taken account of the risks associated with change, public confidence, resilience, impacts on staff and the results of the public consultation.
“Our plans are comprehensive, scrutinising all aspects of Humberside Police, including the number of senior posts, our structure and the size and capacity of all of our units.
“The budget is very demanding and there are hard times ahead.
“However, I am confident that we will meet them successfully because, as a force, we are built on solid foundations, and because of the good people who are proud to work for Humberside Police and deeply committed to serving their local communities.”