Cost of police mags criticised as a waste

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POLICE magazines and newsletters distributed to South Yorkshire homes cost £135,535 to produce last year.

The figure has been made public by camapign gropup the TaxPayers’ Alliance, which asked police authorities across the country for details of what they have spent on publications.

South Yorkshire Police Authority, which oversees the way South Yorkshire Police is run and funded, spent £56,633 on Serving You.

The publication details the local policing summary the authority is required to produce by law to let the public know how the force is doing concerning meeting targets and what policing priorities are.

Some authorities, like Devon and Cornwall, publish the information on their websites but others print and distribute the summary.

Matthew Sinclair, director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “It’s important for the police to communicate with the general public, but it doesn’t need to be at such expense.

“Lots of police authorities already publish their local policing summary online, costing taxpayers next to nothing.

“Police authorities up and down the country need to make savings. This is just one example of how spending can be cut to minimise the pressure on frontline services.”

South Yorkshire Police Authority chairman Charles Perryman said they had decided not to publish Serving You this year in the face of budget cuts.

He said: “Police authorities have a statutory requirement to produce and distribute information summarising matters relating to policing in their area.

“South Yorkshire Police Authority took the decision to publish this information in an existing publication called Serving You.

“Serving You has been discussed on a regular basis by the police authority and force and it was felt that this continued to be the most effective way of informing all the people of South Yorkshire of policing activity in their local area.

“However, the police authority is facing an unprecedented reduction in its annual budget. In this new financial year the Authority is expecting a shortfall of £15 million. Bearing this in mind South Yorkshire Police and police authority have already taken the decision not to publish Serving You this year.

“The authority will continue to assess alternative formats for the distribution of key policing information which the public can freely access.”