Debut budget will "protect'' frontline policing in Darlington and County Durham (From The Northern Echo)
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Debut budget will "protect'' frontline policing in Darlington and County Durham
DURHAM’s new Police and Crime Commissioner has vowed that his first budget will protect frontline policing quality.
But council taxpayers must pay an extra on their policing precept from April when the cost for Band A homes – the majority – will rise from £102.27 to £104.32.
The budget of £118.7m, was approved by the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Panel today (Monday , February 4).
Because of Government funding cuts the force is having to save £18.5m between 2011 and 2015 – in 2013-14 the sum is £1.3m - and Commissioner Ron Hogg says he has faced difficult decisions.
The increase in the council tax precept was supported in consultations with the public.
Mr Hogg said: “Taking into account the views from the consultation, I have established a budget for the future by looking into workforce modernisation and have been able to maintain neighbourhood policing and Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) numbers.
“I have set a robust police budget for 2013/14 that is balanced, doesn’t rely on the use of reserves and aims to protect the quality of policing in County Durham and Darlington.
" Significant reductions of approximately £100,000 in my own office budget, together with savings from the current year will enable me to make a contribution of approximately £200,000 to support Community Safety Partnership arrangements.
“This will make good the reductions imposed by Government in transferring the responsibility of Community Safety funding to the PCC.
“I am very determined to ensure savings can be made to balance the budget going forward, whilst ensuring value for money can be achieved.”
Policing priorities for the year are tackling anti-social behaviour, the harm caused by alcohol and drugs, improving road safety, and making policing services visible and accessible at all times.
Mr Hogg said he had no plans to have a deputy, which would be a significant saving.
He added: “Furthermore, I am pleased to announce a dynamic capital programme going forward, which includes the building of the new police headquarters in Durham (saving of maintenance costs of £750,000 per year incurred by the current building), the building of a new police station in Newton Aycliffe, cutting edge police technology and optimising the use of the police estate.”
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