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Leics PCC to transfer £620k to the force to balance budget

The PCC has had his budget proposals endorsed by the Police and Crime panel.

The Leicestershire PCC is set to transfer £620k from the  Commissioner’s Reserve budget over to the force.

He is one of many PCCs looking at different options in order to balance the books. 

PCC Matthews' Police and Crime panel have endorsed his budget today after he told members that the force required a “robust budget” to sustain improvements witnessed since 2021.

Among which, he said, is rural policing – which has seen the launch of a dedicated team of rural officers equipped with specialist kit last year.

His policing budget includes a provision for maintaining the current number of officers (with 297 having been recruited through Uplift and 35 more through other funding streams).

There are also plans for a renewed focus on training of officers, special constables and PCSOs.

Meanwhile, the budget for the OPCC will include funding for projects reducing community tensions and the relaunch of the Commissioner’s Safety Fund.

The area will see a precept increase of £15.

Also seeking to balance the books is North Yorkshire PCC Zoe Metcalfe – whose panel is due to make a report on her proposals by February 8.

Her proposed precept increase is £14.03 for a Band D property.

However, the force is still facing £8.2m savings and reductions to be made in 2023/24.

As part of those reductions, the PCC is looking to leave a certain number of PCSO and staff vacancies unfilled.

Her report reads: “The force currently have a significant number of vacancies within both PCSOs and Staff posts that could not all be filled throughout 2023/24 even if it was financially affordable.

“As a result the force is currently forecasting to operate with around 50 PCSO vacancies in 2023/24 – reducing costs by £2m and an increase from 50 staff vacancies to 74 staff vacancies – reducing costs by £1.2m.”

It is one of three measures that have been put forward in order to rectify the £8.2m gap – in addition to using £1.2m from Reserves/ Underspends and a £3.8m reduction in contributions to capital.

Meanwhile, the force will see a £1.8m investment from the PFCC in the force control room.

It will see the recruitment of an additional 36 communications officers, 12 additional dispatchers, six new trainers and two additional police inspectors.

It’s part of a wider improvement plan in North Yorkshire which will also see a review of shifts, exploration of digital solutions and regular detailed demand analysis.

£1.5m has been put aside for continued recruitment and maintenance of officers – with numbers expected to increase from 1,620 FTEs in 2022/23 to 1,645 FTEs in 2023/24.

The PCC’s report read: “I have been clear with the Force that in asking the public of North Yorkshire to pay more they should expect more from their Police Service. With this in mind I have asked the Chief Constable to set out her priorities for 2023/24, linking to those areas that I have indicated as a priority in the Police and Crime Plan, and I will hold the Chief Constable to account for delivery of these during 2023/24.

“As you would expect with the predicted continuing inflation and potential pay awards that the budget will continue to be a challenge and therefore the Chief Constable has indicated that an organisational and operational review will be taking place to restructure the organisation to deliver the best possible front line and visible policing services within the new future budget constraints.”

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