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More jobs to go as Hampshire police face further cuts £25million
HAMPSHIRE Police must make another £25million of cuts, the chief constable has revealed.
Andy Marsh has told how the county force has been hit with a lower than expected grant from the Government – and that has left it with a black hole in the budget.
The cash setback will mean more job losses, more sharing of services, getting rid of more buildings, and a rise in council tax bills.
The latest grim news comes on top of £55m of savings already being made at a cost of 400 jobs.
Mr Marsh said Hampshire — currently the third cheapest police force in England and Wales — has yet again been dealt a blow by the Government’s formula-based grant system and subsequent “damping”, leaving it millions of pounds down.
Mr Marsh added he “can’t offer any coherent explanation” why the cash shortfall keeps hitting Hampshire, and it is something the force is already appealing against.
But he admitted that if the situation remains unchanged, more jobs will go from an already severely streamlined force.
What is more, the residents of Hampshire will most likely also be asked to dig deeper via the police precept of their council tax bill to help pay for their bobbies on the beat.
In other forces in England and Wales, there has been talk of sponsorship to help ease the burden, but so far, that is not something Hampshire Constabulary seems keen to do.
Mr Marsh said: “It’s going to be difficult. We cannot expose the public to a worse service but at the same time, we are not going to do it by cracking the whip and telling people to work harder.”
He added that jobs will have to go, bureaucracy will have to be cut out, there will be a greater focus on seeking restorative justice rather than the court system, more sharing of services with other forces, and work will continue on advances in technology around digital filing.
There is also still much that can be done around the already depleted building stock owned and rented by the force, said Mr Marsh, despite more than £40m being shaved off the bill by selling police stations and sharing community buildings.
He added: “Policing is an essential service. I will look for the ‘damping’ to be removed or mitigated and it’s currently under review, but we have some difficult decisions to make.
“I will work incredibly hard to protect frontline services, and it’s my job to make sure they don’t suffer. It is for the police and crime commissioner to look at the precept, but it’s my belief the public are happy to pay for a locally deployed, visible force where they live.”
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