Merseyside Police faces “significant funding challenges” in years to come according to Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner Emily Spurrell, who is tasked with overseeing force performance.
In her annual report, Emily Spurrell said despite millions of pounds being saved by the region’s police force in the last financial year, further cuts to the cloth will need to be found in the coming years. Mrs Spurrell has delivered her findings on progress across Merseyside in the last 12 months.
It is expected that around £15m in savings will need to be found by Merseyside Police by 2027/28, despite £2m already being made in efficiencies in 2022/23.
The report said, “The balanced budget I set and approved in February for Merseyside Police for 2023/24 includes £2.9m of savings and we estimate a further £15.3m of savings will have to be found by 2027/28, so there are still significant funding challenges ahead.”
The commissioner revealed that around £2m in savings related to the identification of job roles that had been vacant for “a significant time” and were no longer required.
An additional £113,000 was saved by closing buildings and facilities deemed surplus to requirements. Two former stations – Garston and Heswall – were sold during the last year to fund new projects across the region.
Mrs Spurrell’s document said, “Given the current uncertainty around police funding and the ongoing challenges we face, I have taken the decision to review the current Estate Strategy and our future plans to ensure value for money and financial diligence. This includes ensuring all our assets, such as our community police stations and mobile police stations are being used in the best possible way to ensure a visible, proactive service for our communities.
“It is my intention to publish a revised Estate Strategy during 2023/24.” The commissioner said Merseyside is “desperately underfunded” despite pleas to Westminster for additional cash.
She said, “I take every opportunity to lobby Ministers and officials, most recently through Association of Police and Crime Commissioner (APCC) national meetings, round table discussions with Ministers and through local MPs calling on them to ensure that our region receives a fair share of all funds allocated to policing. I will also continue to lobby for the Government to help cover pay and inflation costs instead of the costs being passed onto the communities of Merseyside via increases in the council tax precept.”
Despite what was described as “significant challenges” the report said during its most recent inspection by His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS), Merseyside Police was found to be delivering value for money for residents.