South Yorkshire Police to lose almost £10m of Government funding

South Yorkshire Police Headquarters on Carbrook Hall Road, Sheffield
South Yorkshire Police Headquarters on Carbrook Hall Road, Sheffield
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Cash-strapped South Yorkshire Police is to lose almost £10m of central Government funding from next April, the Home Office has confirmed.

Financial support for the force is to drop from £199.5m for the current financial year to £190m for 2015/16.

The force is already in the process of trying to save £42 million by 2016, which has seen police officer and support staff numbers slashed and the axing of the cold case murder review team.

Details of the new national funding cuts have been announced by policing minister Mike Penning, who said he would be maintaining the ‘real terms’ 4.9 per cent level of cuts for police forces announced by Chancellor George Osborne last year.

The cut of £299m to the overall police funding budget represents a 5.1 per cent reduction in cash terms.

But the Independent Police Complaints Commission is to be handed an extra £30m next year to carry out ‘significantly more independent investigations’ into alleged misconduct by officers.

Mr Penning said: “Since 2010 we have seen some of the biggest changes to policing in decades. Crime is down by over a fifth. There is significantly greater local accountability and transparency and police leaders have taken the opportunity to radically reform the way they deliver services to the public.

“Police officers have been taken out of back office roles and resources focused on front line delivery, putting officers back on the streets where the public expect them to be.

“Police forces are working more closely than ever before to reduce costs and duplication, and have started to work more closely with other emergency services through co-location and collaboration in areas such as mental health. The police are making their contribution to reducing the deficit and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary have found that the police are successfully meeting the challenge of balancing their books while protecting the frontline and delivering reductions in crime.”

Earlier this year, Chief Superintendent David Hartley warned the force was reaching a ‘tipping point’ on delivering cuts and said there will ‘ultimately be an adverse impact’ on the service delivered to the public.

Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said the national picture was also concerning and predicted forces will find it ‘increasingly difficult’ to maintain performance levels.

He said: “The police service has lost 34,000 police and staff since 2010. The 5.1 per cent budget reduction announced today will lead to further losses, with more impact on the frontline which the police service has managed largely to protect until now.

“With reduced budgets, the Crime Survey of England and Wales published in October, shows that we have succeeded in reducing overall crime. This is testament to the ongoing commitment and professionalism of our officers and staff, but it will become increasingly difficult to maintain performance levels and an effective and efficient service to the public as the present trend in cuts continues.

“Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary has found that a small number of forces are close to experiencing financial difficulty. It is anticipated that a number of other forces will experience operational challenges as cuts continue. The Association of Chief Police Officers, the Home Office and HMIC are working together to determine the viability of future budget reductions and their potential impact on policing.

“While forces understand that the Government wants to invest in specific areas where they feel there is a national policing interest; the allocation of funds to the IPCC, HMIC and the Police Innovation Fund reduces overall force budgets. Most forces would prefer that this money was left in their budget to spend where there is most need in their force.”