Po­lice ‘at tip­ping point’ af­ter £4m pen­sions bill

Carmarthen Journal - - News -

DYFEDPOWYS Po­lice Po­lice is near­ing tip­ping point and faces dif­fi­cult staffing de­ci­sions af­ter be­ing hit with a pen­sions bill of more than £4 mil­lion by HM Trea­sury.

Po­lice and crime com­mis­sioner Dafydd Lly­we­lyn gave the warn­ing that there could be a re­duc­tion in po­lice of­fi­cer num­bers.

It comes af­ter Cen­tral Gov­ern­ment asked po­lice forces across Eng­land and Wales to pay more to­ward pen­sion li­a­bil­i­ties, re­sult­ing in con­cerns that the money could come from in­di­vid­ual force’s bud­gets and there­fore have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on lo­cal polic­ing.

Across Eng­land and Wales the po­lice pen­sions cost is set to in­crease by £165 mil­lion in 2019-20 be­fore ris­ing to £417 mil­lion, which could mean 4,000 fewer of­fi­cers next year and 10,000 fewer from 2020/21.

As a worst case sce­nario for Dyfed-Powys Po­lice, this could mean a loss of 38 of­fi­cers in 2019-20 and a to­tal of 97 of­fi­cers for 2020-21, plac­ing great pres­sures on re­sources and pos­ing a real threat to com­mu­nity safety.

Po­lice and crime com­mis­sioner Dafydd Lly­we­lyn has writ­ten to all Dyfed-Powys MPs and AMs rais­ing his con­cerns about the crit­i­cal and pre­car­i­ous po­si­tion that Dyfed-Powys and the po­lice ser­vice in gen­eral face. He has also in­vited elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives to a brief­ing with him in De­cem­ber.

Mr Lly­we­lyn said: “We are, with­out doubt, near­ing tip­ping point in re­la­tion to po­lice fund­ing in Dyfed-Powys.

“I have been work­ing pru­dently along­side the force to en­sure that the pre­cept re­mains sta­ble for the tax payer next year. With the hand­ing of a sub­stan­tial and un­prece­dented pen­sions bill from the Trea­sury, fi­nan­cial sta­bil­ity has now been put at sig­nif­i­cant risk, and poses a threat to our lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties.

“If the Trea­sury is to con­tinue with its plans, with­out pro­vid­ing ad­di­tional fund­ing, we will have to look at a range of op­tions be­fore mak­ing some dif­fi­cult de­ci­sions. I can­not, by law set an un­bal­anced bud­get. This means that this money would have to be found from in­creas­ing coun­cil tax, draw­ing from re­serves, or by re­duc­ing ex­pen­di­ture. We will do our very best to limit the im­pact of this on the pub­lic in Dyfed-Powys”.

Dyfed-Powys Po­lice’s di­rec­tor of fi­nance, Ed­win Har­ries, said “The force is mon­i­tor­ing the po­si­tion as re­gards Pub­lic Sec­tor Pen­sions em­ployer con­tri­bu­tions and is await­ing fur­ther guid­ance from the Na­tional Po­lice Chiefs Coun­cil in re­la­tion to the ex­act ac­count­ing re­quire­ments for the next fi­nan­cial year.

“It is es­ti­mated that the fi­nan­cial im­pact on rev­enue bud­gets in 2019-20 could be as high as £1.6 mil­lion with a fur­ther £2.6 mil­lion be­ing re­quired in 2020-21. It is not clear whether any fund­ing will be made avail­able to off­set these costs at this stage. The grant set­tle­ment for 2019-20 is ex­pected in De­cem­ber 2018 with the 2020-21 fund­ing po­si­tion be­ing re­liant on the out­come of the Com­pre­hen­sive Spend­ing Re­view.”

Pic­ture: Rob Browne

Dyfed-Powys Po­lice has been hit with a £4 mil­lion-plus pen­sions bill.

Dyfed Powys po­lice and crime com­mis­sioner Dafydd Lly­we­lyn.

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