Posted on 28th January 2015
The impact of the financial challenges facing Derbyshire Constabulary remains unclear as the force announces its plans to make savings of up to £26m during the next five years.
Chief Constable Mick Creedon said: “What is certain is that the size of the force will reduce as funding diminishes and that resources will have to be focused on meeting demands from the public and minimising the threat and risk to the community.
“This is the fifth budget to be set during the years of austerity and savings are becoming even harder to achieve.
“It is important to strike the right balance between providing sufficient resources and maintaining a sustainable budget.”
Despite the reductions in the police budget public confidence in the force rose to 77 per cent in 2014 from 63 per cent in 2008.
Mr Creedon added: “Eighty percent of the police budget is spent on people; officers and police staff who provide an unstinting service to the community. We are hoping to save jobs by reducing the number of buildings owned, used or rented by the constabulary. We have had to prioritise the people who deliver the service over the buildings they operate from but unfortunately there is no option but to reduce the number of people within the force. Staff will be redeployed where possible or will be offered voluntary redundancy or early retirement.
“We realise that some members of the public will be disappointed that their local police station or office, enquiry office or front desk will close. We have to compare the costs of them remaining open to the benefit they provide to people who use them and found that this is the best plan available to us.
“The important thing to remember is that police officers will be on patrol even if their local base has closed.”
The vast majority of the police buildings that will close are not open to the public and are used as administration offices for officers. These officers will be given alternative accommodation in existing buildings or new technology to reduce the time they need to spend at a desk.
Mr Creedon said: “Policing is changing, both in the way that the public interact with officers to report crime or ask for help, and in the type of crime offenders are now involved in.
“The growth in cybercrime, child sexual offences, human trafficking, modern slavery and other types of organised crime places different demands on the police.
“Similarly the way members of the public choose to contact the police has changed. The most popular methods are now telephone or internet. People who want a visit from a police officer can now book an appointment either at their home or the nearest police station.”
The potential revenue savings across the five year programme of reducing the police estate are expected to be in the region of £700,000 each year with a potential income of between £3 - 4m from the sale of buildings.