South Yorkshire Crime Commissioner hits out at police budget cut

South Yorkshire PCC Dr Alan Billings
South Yorkshire PCC Dr Alan Billings
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South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner has hit out at Chancellor George Osborne after his force was told they will have to raise an additional £1 million.

Crime commissioners nationally have been told that they will need to raise the council tax precept by two per cent, the maximum level allowed without the need for a costly referendum, to match their budgets from last year.

The Chancellor’s November statement also only provided a settlement for 2016/17, meaning forces cannot plan for beyond the next financial year.

Dr Alan Billings, PCC for South Yorkshire, whose force will get £189 million in annual funding, said: “In his statement in November the Chancellor said that the police grant for next year would be the same as this.

“However, we now learn first that the grant is reduced by almost £1m and second that we are expected to raise additional funding by increasing the charge to council tax payers by the maximum permitted.

“This settlement allows nothing for inflation, including increasing demands on the force and pay awards, which will have to be found either by putting up council tax or making further savings or both.

“Over the coming weeks we shall continue to look for savings while talking to district council leaders and the public about what we can bare locally. Our overall commitment to defend neighbourhood policing will be the top priority.”

Policing Minister Mike Penning said: “This police funding settlement represents a fair deal for the police and reinforces this Government’s commitment to protect the public. No Police and Crime Commissioner will face a reduction in cash funding next year.”