WEST Mercia Police needs to find further savings of £21million over the next five years, the force’s commissioner has revealed in his draft budget plans.
John Campion has laid out his budget proposals for 2017/18 which will see an extra £4.5million invested into the force, and West Mercia’s share of council tax will be frozen for the year ahead.
In order to prop up the budget, Mr Campion has decided to raid the reserves fund, totalling £50million, by using £30million of it by 2021.
The draft proposals, which are now out for consultation until January 23, also includes an extra £100,000 for restorative justice services, a £1million fund to help prevent business, rural and cyber crime and five new jobs will be created to tackle high tech and cyber crime.
There will also be a major overhaul of the force’s IT services- with £20million set to be spent on new equipment over the next five years to help modernise the force.
Mr Campion said: “I am proposing a budget which will ensure continued investment in our police force, enabling greater efficiencies for the future whilst addressing the issues that matter most to our communities and ensuring better value for public money.
“I am proposing a freeze in the policing element of council tax for the coming financial year because I believe there are greater efficiencies that must be achieved. However, by utilising the healthy reserves we have, 2017/18 would see a considerable increase in spending.
“I also promised I would reform and modernise our police service. My budget proposals include major positive investments designed to improve police visibility in our communities, ensure better customer service and protect our most vulnerable people.
“It will also provide new fit-for-purpose technology that will bring it up to date and in-line with other forces in the UK, giving our officers the tools they need to do their difficult jobs better.”
Visit www.westmercia-pcc.gov.uk to have your say on the draft budget proposals.