Sussex PCC welcomes protection of police budget in Autumn Statement

Katy Bourne Sussex PCC
Katy Bourne Sussex PCC

Sussex’s Police and Crime Commissioner has welcomed protection of the policing budget in today’s Autumn Statement.

Chancellor George Osborne announced there would be no further cuts to the police budget, while PCCs are set to be given more flexibility to raise their element of council tax.

Katy Bourne, Sussex’ PCC, said: “This announcement delivers some much needed stability for police forces in England and Wales at a time when public reassurance is critical. For the individual police officers, I also hope that it demonstrates how highly regarded they are.

“I made strong representations to Government to lift the cap on the police precept for Sussex, so I am pleased to hear that there will now be some flexibility in our budget locally.

“We will have to wait until mid December to see the finer details of how the policing budget will be apportioned across national projects and funds before the remainder is allocated to forces.

“I acknowledge that other public sector bodies still face significant financial challenges and so I look forward to talking with local partners about how we can collaborate more effectively and intelligently where our services sometimes overlap.

“After the terrorist attacks in Paris and evolving threats across Europe, I also applaud the Chancellor’s investment in our intelligence services, in counter terrorism and border security.

“I look forward to seeing further details of the fund the Chancellor announced to assist forces with more collaboration. Sussex Police has already saved £50m – some through collaboration with Surrey Police – and the Chief Constable’s new Local Policing Plan is already working towards delivering further savings over the next five years.”

Mr Osborne said: “Our police are on the front line of the fight to keep us safe.

“In the last Parliament, we made savings in police budgets – but thanks to the reforms of my Right Honourable Friend the Home Secretary and the hard work of police officers, crime fell and the number of neighbourhood officers increased.

“That reform must continue in this Parliament.

“We need to invest in new state-of-the-art mobile communications for our emergency services, and introduce new technology at our borders and increase the counter-terrorism budget by 30 per cent.

“We should allow elected Police and Crime Commissioners greater flexibility in raising local precepts in areas where they have been historically low.

“And further savings can be made in the police as different forces merge their back offices and share expertise. We will provide a new fund to help with this reform.

“Mr Speaker, I’ve had representations police budgets should be cut by up to 10 per cent. But now is not the time for further police cuts.

“Now is the time to back our police and give them the tools do the job.

“I am today announcing there will be no cuts in the police budget at all. There will be real terms protection for police funding. The police protect us, and we’re going to protect the police.”

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