Cheshire’s police and crime commissioner and acting chief constable are continuing their fight for a fairer funding settlement for police in Cheshire.
PCC David Keane and A/CC Janette McCormick have written a joint letter to the county’s 11 MPs asking them to put pressure on government to ensure policing in Cheshire is effectively funded.
The commissioner wants Cheshire MPs to press the Home Secretary before he gives the constabulary its annual cash settlement which will set out the local budget position for 2019/20.
It follows a disappointing budget announcement by the Chancellor yesterday which did not give any indication of increased support for over stretched local police budgets or for crippling pension changes introduced by government.
The PCC and A/CC have warned that Cheshire Constabulary could lose 250 police officers over the next two years as a result of £12 million savings it estimates the government will require it to make.
David said: “The Chancellor claims austerity is over but policing in Cheshire is still feeling the brunt of severe government cuts.
“I have serious concerns about the constabulary’s financial position and the pressure it’s under with the complexity of crime increasing and resources diminishing. The government has cut and cut again at our budget and our already thin blue line is now at breaking point.
“Despite saving more than £60 million since 2010, we estimate that we will be required to save millions more over the next two years. With non-pay budgets now over stretched, we’ll have no choice but to streamline our frontline workforce.
“Reducing officer numbers would have a significant impact on how we deliver vital services to residents of Cheshire. With other public services also at breaking point, we could see the impact of these harsh cuts for generations.
“We need more funding to be able to deliver an effective service which keeps our communities safe. I would like our elected representatives to raise this issue in parliament and ask for a fairer funding settlement for policing in Cheshire on behalf of our communities.”
The commissioner is actively raising the crippling funding challenges that are being faced by policing through his national work with the Association of Police & Crime Commissioners and the acting chief constable is doing the same through the National Police Chief’s Council.
A/CC McCormick added: “We have exploited efficiency and non-pay savings as much as possible to protect our frontline work force but those budgets are now over stretched and unless additional funding is sought, changes will have to be made in how policing in Cheshire is delivered in the future.
“We will have to prioritise to ensure we protect our emergency response service and continue to safeguard individuals. But as a result of any further cuts, we would need to look differently at how we respond to our current non-emergency service and how we work with partners.”