WEST Mercia Police needs to find further savings of £21million over the next five years, the forces commissioner has revealed in his draft budget plans.
John Campion has laid out his budget proposals for 2017/18 which will see an extra £4.5million invested into the force, and West Mercia’s share of council tax will be frozen for the year ahead.
In order to prop up the budget, Mr Campion has decided to raid the reserves fund, totalling £50million, by using £30million of it by 2021. The £4.5million earmarked for investment by the commissioner is also coming from the force’s reserves.
The draft proposals, which are out for consultation until January 23, also includes an extra £100,000 for restorative justice services, a £1million fund to help prevent business, rural and cyber crime and five new jobs to tackle hi-tech and cyber crime.
There will also be a major overhaul of the force’s IT services- with £20million set to be spent on new equipment over the next five years to help modernise the force.
Despite investment, further savings of £21million still need to be found by the end of 2021. Although not all of these have been identified, the commissioner hopes the force will save money by becoming more efficient as a result of the investment into new technologies, such as body-worn cameras.
Mr Campion said: “I am proposing a budget which will ensure continued investment in our police force, enabling greater efficiencies for the future whilst addressing the issues that matter most to our communities and ensuring better value for public money.
“I am proposing a freeze in the policing element of council tax for the coming financial year because I believe there are greater efficiencies that must be achieved. However, by utilising the healthy reserves we have, 2017/18 would see a considerable increase in spending.”
Visit www.westmercia-pcc.gov.uk to have your say on the draft budget proposals.