Merseyside Police’s Commissioner and Chief Constable will host a special public meeting next week at which the police’s budget will be set for the year ahead.
Balancing Merseyside Police’s budget is one of the Police Commissioner, Emily Spurrell’s most critical roles. She sets and approves the budget after presenting her proposals to the body which scrutinises her work, the Police and Crime Panel.
At a meeting earlier this month, Panel members endorsed Emily’s plan to help protect Merseyside Police in the year ahead in the face of spiralling inflation and rising costs.
After 12 years of austerity, Merseyside Police are still missing 450 officers and it is anticipated a further £15m of savings will have to be made by the end of 2027/28.
To protect local policing, Emily is planning to generate an extra £7.9m through the police precept – the part of council tax which is ring-fenced for policing.
This comes after the Government announced in December that Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) would be expected to raise the police precept by £15 a year for a Band D property in 2023/24 to cover increasing costs in the year ahead. This equates to 19p a week for a Band A property – the rate paid by most council taxpayers in Merseyside.
Even with this vital extra funding provided by local people, the Police Commissioner will still need to use £7.5m of reserves and ‘one-off’ funding and the Chief Constable will need to make £2.4m of savings just to balance the books in the year ahead.
Despite the financial challenges, Merseyside Police continues to be graded as one of the best-performing urban forces in the country and is assessed as ‘outstanding’ for its response to serious, organised crime. There have been significant reductions in robberies and burglaries and the force has responded to 8,000 more calls for service this year compared to last.
The meeting will be held at 11.30am on Monday 20 February 2022 at Merseyside Police Headquarters in Cazneau Street in Liverpool. Anyone wishing to observe this meeting, must register their interest in advance by emailing email@example.com
Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said, “Setting a balanced budget is one of my most important responsibilities.
“It’s my job to ensure Merseyside Police has the money it needs to keep our communities safe and is in the strongest possible position for the year ahead.
“In the face of soaring inflation and costs and more cuts anticipated in the next few years, this has been no easy task. The financial position is extremely challenging and has required very careful planning and saving over the year ahead.
“While I was extremely reluctant to ask taxpayers to contribute a little extra to support their police service, I’m very grateful to have had the support of local people through my consultation and the Police and Crime Panel to protect our police service.
“Even with their hugely valuable contribution, the Chief Constable will still have to make £2.4m of savings in the year ahead and Merseyside Police continue to be 450 officers short of the number it once had.
“I am focused on doing everything possible to help Merseyside Police to go back to its former strength. I will continue to lobby Ministers at every chance I get to provide the funding for those missing officers, and I will also work to secure extra grants and funding for our region wherever I can.
“I’d invite anyone who is interested in finding out more the careful work being done to protect Merseyside Police’s budget to attend this special public meeting.”
Image: (L-R) PCC Emily Spurrell and Chief Constable Serena Kennedy