Responding to the National Police Chief’s Council Lead for Finance and Resources on police force financial stability.
Joint statement from police and crime commissioner, David Keane, and acting chief constable, Janette McCormick:
Police funding and the impacts of reducing budgets year on year are currently very high on the public agenda.
Despite saving of more than £60 million since 2010, Cheshire Constabulary estimates that it will be required by the government to make a further £12 million of savings in the next two years.
This will have a significant impact on the availability of front-line resources and on the delivery of operational services to the public of Cheshire.
Acting chief constable, Janette McCormick, is currently assessing the extent of further resource reductions on key operational services for police and crime commissioner, David Keane, to consider as part of the budget setting process. This could mean reducing police officer numbers by 250 over the next two years, which is approximately a further 12 per cent reduction.
Over recent years the constabulary has faced significant financial challenges despite this, almost half of the £60 million savings found since 2010 have been delivered through non-pay budgets, which has meant that Cheshire Constabulary has been able to limit the reduction in police officer, PCSOs and Police Staff numbers, compared to many other forces.
According to national figures, there were 135 fewer police officers in March 2018 in Cheshire than there were in March 2010, which equates to a 6 per cent reduction. Nationally, the reduction in police officer numbers has been 14 per cent, and across the North West, excluding Cheshire, the reduction has been 21 per cent.
HMICFRS has assessed the constabulary’s efficiency and financial plans as part of its PEEL assessment for each of the past four years and has graded the constabulary as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ every time. Despite this track record, pressures on policing, through reduced budgets and increased demand, are growing to the level that the police and crime commissioner, David Keane, is increasingly concerned as to whether it can maintain the already over-stretched ‘thin blue line’ for much longer.