THE Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex has claimed the county will benefit from a planned new revised police funding formula to the tune of Â£10-Â£13million by 2019/20.
The new funding formula has provoked anger in other parts of the country, with several PCCs signing a letter to give to the Home Office; however Nick Alston feels the old system was out of date and virtually impossible to understand.
Two thirds of police funding comes from a government grant established by a formula, and having lobbied the government over the Summer, Mr Alston feels Essex can benefit from the changes and maintain more officers than previously anticipated thanks to this extra Â£10-Â£13million.
Essex police had been expected to make savings of Â£63million by 2019/20; however if these figures turn out to be true, it could be lowered to Â£50million of savings.
Mr Alston said: “Around 83 per cent of the police budget is spent on the salaries of police officers, PCSOs and staff and, to give a sense of scale, Â£1 million pays for around 18-20 police officers.
“So each extra million we no longer have to find in savings means fewer posts will be lost.
“I understand why some of my PCC colleagues have written and signed a letter to the Home Office, as their police forces will all be worse off under the proposed changes to the funding formula. Here in Essex, these changes will benefit us.
“However this issue aside it continues to be the case that total central government funding for policing will continue to fall and we will know more detail about the scale of the budget cuts following this November’s Comprehensive Spending Review.”
The other third of police funding is generated through council tax precepts and Nick Alston added that he backed an increase if it would provide a strong and effective police force.
He said: “Essex Police continues to be one of the leanest and most efficient forces in the country, and we pay less in council tax for our policing than almost any other county.
“HMIC estimated that Essex Police faces the prospect of losing 447 police officer posts by 2019-20.
“If we all paid an extra 50 pence a week for the policing part of our council tax, as an indicator, this could save around 300 of those police officer posts.
“Of course if any increase in council tax funding was agreed, ultimately it would be an operational decision for the Chief Constable as to how that money was used.”