Extra millions for Suffolk police

Tim Passmore at his desk as Police and Crime Commissioner

Tim Passmore at his desk as Police and Crime Commissioner - Credit: Contributed

Suffolk’s police are to get an extra £9m from the Home Office over the next four years – which should clear the threat of any more major service cuts.

And the county’s police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore is to look at whether any of the changes announced earlier this month could be “tweaked” to ease their impact on Suffolk.

Those changes were designed to help save £15m by 2020 – and the PCC had been expecting to have to find a further £5m in savings. The announcement from the Home Office means that instead of saving a total of £20m, it will now only have to save £11m by 2020.

However the government does appear to assume that PCCs across the country will put up their council tax by just under 2% in April – although Mr Passmore said it was too early for him to make any firm decisions on what figure he should be aiming for.

The Home Office grant to Suffolk police is to be increased by £2.5m in 2016/17 and 2017/18 from what had been expected. For the following two years it will increase by £2m a year.

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Mr Passmore said: “This does look like tremendous news and it means that we should not have to make any further major cutbacks after those we announced this month.

“We might be able to tweak some of those changes – but as I said at the time we would have to make some changes anyway whether there were savings pressures or not.

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“The fact is we are having to change the way we work because of changes in society – but we may be able to look again at some issues.”

Police received the news about their funding settlement on the same day as local councils.

Suffolk County Council’s budget settlement was broadly in line with what had been expected – but officials and councillors will spend the next few weeks studying it in depth before the budget details are discussed by the county’s cabinet at the end of January.

Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for finance Richard Smith said: “We now need to analyse the detail of today’s announcement to understand fully the impact this may have on the budget proposals we are looking to set in the New Year and the savings we need to make.

“We already knew we were facing tough decisions and challenging times ahead, this is reflected in the fact we need to make significant savings of £73m over the next two years.

“This news today is broadly what we expected and demonstrates the scale of the tough decisions we are currently considering through ongoing budget discussions. We remain absolutely committed to protecting the most vulnerable people in the community.”

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