Wide support for policing from councillors

East Devon District Council is raising concerns with the Home Secretary about the implications of cuts to the Devon and Cornwall police budget which could lead to the loss of hundreds of officers.

Devon and Cornwall Police Commissioner Tony Hogg has warned that jobs could be lost and further police stations closed as he tackles a £39m budget reduction for 2015/16.

Cllr Paul Diviani, Leader of East Devon District Council, has made strong representations to the Home Secretary Theresa May and Policing Minister Mike Penning. The Council will also be calling on its local MPs Neil Parish, Hugo Swire and Mel Stride for support following a recommendation from its Scrutiny Committee.

Earlier this week, the Government announced it was delaying a review of the funding formula which means that the budget position for all police forces will not be confirmed until December 2016. Initial figures from the Home Office suggested that the funding formula would have taken an additional £15m of funding from Devon and Cornwall which would have meant a £54m budget cut.

Mr Hogg said that while the announcement was welcome, the force was still faced with making challenging budget cuts of £39m which would lead to many aspects of policing altering significantly and services provided by the police currently may not be carried out in the future. 

Cllr Roger Giles, Chairman of the Council’s Scrutiny Committee, said that there was wide support from councillors for the police service at a recent meeting.

He said:

The Committee were most concerned about the impact of the proposed budget cuts particularly on Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) and other front line staff.

We understand that a 25% budget reduction may lead to a 60% reduction in the number of PCSOs and a 40% budget reduction may lead to a complete cut of PCSOs.

This just cannot be allowed to happen. Our residents and businesses need a properly resourced police service.