Sussex Police, like all public services is facing substantial cuts to its budget. I fully support a long term commitment to preventative measures and will proactively search for each and every opportunity to work in partnership with all Sussex communities and a continued focus on neighbourhood policing. This will depend on an approach that goes beyond merely policing with consent, to policing that speaks of collaboration and full cooperation (where this can be obtained). The provision of services such as detecting serious crimes, firearms provision and helicopter services will continue to be vital for all of us, but these services come at a high cost and working smarter, not just harder remains a daily priority for all employees and volunteers working for Sussex Police if we are to deliver on the objectives that have been set for us. Only if we do find new ways of working together will we be able to ensure funds are available for all of the elements we wish to see in our communities.
In February 2010 Sussex Police Authority as part of their usual budget setting process approved a revenue budget for 2010-11 of £261m (+3% on 2009-10). They set a capital budget of £11m (down from £16m). We are all now very familiar with the widespread austerity measures introduced by the coalition government and for Sussex Police this led to an unprecedented in year cuts in grant funding which represented £2.4m for revenue and £0.2m for capital spending.
The Comprehensive Spending Review announced in October 2010 set out Governmental funding plans for the next four years 2011-12 to 2014-15. The impact on Sussex Police is to reduce expenditure by around £50m by 2015. The Police Authority have instigated the “Serving Sussex 2015 program” to look at how to ‘do things differently’ hoping to maintain or even improve service provision, in spite of these financial challenges.
It is vital that the Police Commissioner works with the Chief Constable and his senior team to build a policing service suited to how we live now protecting the service that we value, but being prepared to make changes in the way they deliver it.