South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Shaun Wright, has outlined his budget for 2013/2014, the first following his appointment in November 2012.
The budget very much reflects the existing programme of continuous improvement and value for money set out by South Yorkshire Police in previous years. The Force has always been proactive in identifying efficiencies and delivering savings, but Commissioner Wright said that with a £30milion budget reduction since 2010 and a further £13million reduction in the next two years (2013/14 and 2014/15), this represents a 20% reduction for policing in the county.
The Commissioner, in announcing proposals on increasing policing visibility through frontline policing, special constables while at the same time delivering best value for money, has stated that:
- A precept increase of around 1 pence per day will keep police on the beat
- There will be 400 extra special constables on the streets over the next two years
- Extra officers are being drafted in to tackle Child Sexual Exploitation
- The 60 officers expected to retire in 2013/14 will be replaced
- More officers will be deployed into neighbourhood policing roles in the community
- There will be increased victim support services
- Further work will be done with 16/17 year olds to stop them offending
- There will be an increased grants scheme and greater partnership working
Some examples of savings and efficiencies currently under review include the centralising of CCTV control and CID, the combining of corporate support, and discussions with West Yorkshire Police on collaboration regarding mounted officers. The Commissioner also intends to set further challenging savings targets and to make appropriate use of financial reserves.
Commissioner Wright said:
“While the underlying function of any police budget is to ensure the delivery of best value for money for taxpayers, the primary aim is that my budget will still allow the force to deliver a greater police visibility in our neighbourhoods and one that leads to a decrease in criminal activity.
“I recognise that people want to see a greater police presence and to know that not only local petty crime, but also serious and organised criminal activity is efficiently and effectively reduced.
“It is exasperating that since the Government came to power, £43million will be taken away from policing in South Yorkshire, and while others might be content with a “make do” stance, I intend to seek ways of wringing as much value for money as I can from every single £1 we spend.
“I believe my attitude towards what I call ‘proactively managing austerity measures’ in South Yorkshire is far superior to the often passive and lack-lustre ones encouraged by a Government that seems to think we in the regions should simply just put up with it and ‘do more with less’.
“It really is unacceptable that an area such as South Yorkshire, with its own unique problems on the back of deprivation caused by the severe employment losses in the economy over past years, should be compared by the Government to the rural heartlands of Southern England in terms of crime,.
“Rather than just sit back and complain, it is my intention to ‘get out there and get on with it’! One of my priorities is to work closely with agencies and other organisations that also deal with criminal activities. Not only will this develop better relationships, but is the best way to make most efficient use of the limited resources we have available to all of us, not just the police. For example, I want to see people who have alcohol or other addiction-related problems that may lead to crime, rehabilitated away from that criminal activity.
“However, my approach to tackling crime is as straightforward as it is understandable. I will do all in my power to ensure we have a fully-accountable police service that has the necessary resources to combat crime.
“That having been said, the police will maintain their focus on local neighbourhood policing as a force that looks like the community it serves.”
Posted on Monday 28th January 2013