The Spending Review announced today, Wednesday, October 20, 2010, has confirmed that the police service will have to make significant savings. Although final figures will not be known until the grant settlement is made in late November/early December, it is our assessment that Essex Police will have to save a figure in the region of approximately £50 million by 2014. Some of these savings result from anticipated cuts in the police grant from the government but there are other financial pressures that we also have to deal with.
Deputy Chief Constable Andy Bliss said: “We will now study these figures in order to understand the exact consequences for the Essex Police force budget. Together with the Essex Police Authority, we will tailor our plans for savings to fit with the budget we are given. The Chief Constable has said before that we will have to make major changes to the way that we organise policing in Essex in the coming years.
As more than 80% of our budget is spent on officer and support staff salaries, there will inevitably be less staff employed by us as we move forward to work in a climate of tighter budgets. We are currently working on a completely new ‘Blueprint’ for policing and are taking the opportunity fundamentally to re-design all aspects of how we deliver our services.”
Mr Bliss added that although savings of £17million had been made in the past two years, there was scope further to reduce spending without affecting the high standards of local policing. Sharing the costs of services by working closely with other forces, particularly Kent, is already reaping rewards and there is potential for other collaborative work in the coming months. In keeping with public priorities, Essex Police will seek to continue its delivery of frontline services ensuring a visible and accessible presence.
Essex Police’s Reform Programme has been set up to look at the different areas across the force to find the best way successfully to meet the budget cuts, manage resources, improve productivity and use the comprehensive spending review as an opportunity to develop a new ‘Blueprint’ for policing in Essex. Our aim is to ensure that we continue to deliver a high standard of service to the public.