Concerns raised over police pension funding
Police and Crime Commissioner Keith Hunter has raised significant concerns over the announcement by Government that an increase in employers' contributions to police pensions must be funded from existing force budgets.
Mr Hunter, and all other PCCs in England and Wales, have supported a letter to the Chancellor Philip Hammond outlining the potential impact this decision could have on future recruitment of new officers. You can read the letter HERE
Keith Hunter said: "This unexpected decision from Government would require us to produce additional money from our existing funds to increase employers’ contributions to police pensions.
"Next year, if this is unfunded by central Government, it would require us to find £2.6m from the police revenue budget, and the following year once the full costs hit us, potentially in excess of £6m per year. It’s a massive amount and an unprecedented change when we’d been told to expect a flat cash settlement in the budget from the Home Office with some flexibility in the precept to try and improve policing, and this has the potential to fundamentally change that.
"All Police and Crime Commissioners across England and Wales have supported a letter written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to express our concern and the National Police Chief’s Council, which represents Chief Constables, is also very vocal about this which shows how serious it is, as they tend to keep out of matters which could be seen as political.
If this money is removed from our budget, with very little notice, there could be an immediate stop put on recruitment and we would have to fundamentally assess what policing looks like across the Humberside force area, and what our contribution would be to national and regional policing priorities.
"This same issue is also affecting the NHS, and the Government have said they will cover the cost for that but police forces are going to have to pick this up themselves, so it undermines everything they have said about steady finances for policing over the next few years and the Treasury are holding their ground at the moment. We are writing to the Home Office to try to get them to apply pressure to the Treasury and say that it is unacceptable to do this to policing as we cannot cope with these variations in funding.
"Humberside Police has received very positive feedback from its recent visit by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate and I’m out in communities where people are telling me they are starting to see a difference with more officers on the streets. We will reach a total of 1900 police officers by the end of this year which is the highest officer workforce since 2011 and it would be a seriously backward step to turn the tap off and lose around 200 officers in the following two years as we would not have the funds to replace those leaving through natural turnover because of the impact of this decision."
Posted on Wednesday 24th October 2018