- 2016 Police & Justice Service Group Conference
- 8 June 2016
Conference notes that in his November 2015 Spending Review, Chancellor George Osborne stated “Now is not the time for further Police cuts, now is the time to back our Police and give them the tools to do the job” (BBC News 25 November 2015).
Yet in April 2016, the South Yorkshire Police outline policing plan showed that to balance the budget, 850 officers and staff jobs would have to go.
In May 2016, it was widely reported that Kent police would have to lose up to 150 staff “backroom” posts, again to balance the budget.
In Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon promised “Scotland’s Policing Budget will be protected and Officers will receive an additional £100 Million to combat terrorism”, a statement echoed by her Justice Secretary, Michael Mathieson at the UNISON Police Staff Scotland Seminar in March 2016 and the Association of Scottish Police Superintendents Conference in May 2016.
Yet the Audit Scotland reports that Police Scotland faces an £85million funding gap for 2016 and the Scottish Police Authority, at its Board meeting on the 31st May 2106 reports that “There remains an ongoing financial challenge which must be met”, whilst the published budget settlement shows a drop in budget settlement compared to the previous year.
The Question facing us nationally is ‘how much more do we have to do to publicise and dispel these austerity myths?’
The simple fact is, that in real terms, the Police Financial Budget Settlement, is decreasing across the UK.
Service is declining, pubic confidence is falling. The service provided is very much reactive and not proactive. All of the good work carried out in previous years is fast being destroyed on the back of political rhetoric.
Conference therefore calls on the Service Group Executive to:
1)Develop a locally targeted but nationally coordinated campaign to highlight and illuminate these issues to the UK and Scottish Governments to ensure an open debate is had about the realities of Police Budget Settlements.
2)Capitalise on this to illustrate that the majority of these cuts fall on the shoulders of our members who provide a value for money service ensuring best value policing.
3)Lobby English & Welsh Police Crime Commissioners and The Scottish Police Authority to highlight that the service needs review to ensure best value by providing a balanced workforce with staff fulfilling all non-policing functions at greatly reduced cost compared to police officers.