Crooks know stretched police can’t catch them
CHIEF’S WARNING AS FORCE FACES ANOTHER £ 20M LOSS TO BUDGET
CRIMINALS know that the police do not have the resources to pursue them, the Chief Constable of West Midlands Police has warned.
The admission came as the force faces the prospect of losing £ 20 million from its budget, because it has been told by the Gov- ernment to increase its contribution to employee pensions.
Chief Constable Dave Thompson said the money was the equivalent of 500 police officer jobs.
The Chief Constable warned: “There is no question there will be more obvious rationing of services. The public can already see it is going on.
“We are already not pur- suing crimes where we could find a suspect. We are doing things now that surprise me. We are struggling to deliver a service to the public. I think criminals are well aware now how stretched we are.”
And in comments to the West Midlands Strategic Policing and Crime Board, he said that he believed the Treasury was demanding extra payments into the pension scheme because it had got its sums wrong.
He said: “Our view quite simply is that the Treasury has worked this out wrong and our engagement nationally at the moment is to seek engagement with the treasury to understand what they are doing with police pension scheme. The silence has been deafening in the last two weeks and we are instigating more conversations with the treasury on this and we would like a response back on it.”
Extra costs are being imposed on the police because the Government has changed the way it calculates how much public sector employers are expected to contribute to some pension schemes.
In the first year the extra cost to the West Midlands will be £ 8.6 million, and by the next financial year the extra annual cost to the police will be more than £ 20 million.
Mr Thompson told the Crime Board: “If that was equated to police officers it is a significant number I think we are approaching 500 officers clearly our intention would not be to try and do that.”
Sara Thornton, chairman of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, has said the changes mean police forces across England and Wales might need to find an extra £ 417 million in total by 2020/ 21.
It comes as the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, prepares to present his Budget statement on October 29.
Mr Hammond has come under pressure to give police more funding after years of cuts.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid, MP for Bromsgrove, and West Midlands Mayor Andy Street are both reported to have lobbied the Chancellor to look again at police budgets.
Chief Constable Dave Thompson