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Police service must play its part in tackling deficit says minister

Police cannot be immune from the need to make savings, the policing minister has told a conference of officers.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Speaking in central London this morning, Nick Herbert said fairness must be at the heart of reforms to the police service and that action must be taken.

Tough decisions

‘The whole country knows we have to deal with the deficit and that means taking tough decisions. I believe there is general recognition among police officers that the police service must play its part,’ he explained.

Mr Herbert’s comments come after an independent report on Tuesday into police pay and conditions.

The former rail regulator Tom Winsor said significant savings could be made, with potential for up to £60 million to be cut from the annual overtime budget alone.

Damaged relations

Mr Herbert also warned that the relationship between police and the public could be damaged if officers were not playing their part in reducing the public deficit.

‘I think it would potentially cause those who work in the police service difficulty if others in the public sector were playing their part and they, as individuals in the police service, weren’t,’ he said.

‘I think that would damage the relationship between the police and the public.’

Police and crime commissioners

The policing minister today also answered claims that new police and crime commissioners could be influenced in their decision making by those funding their election campaigns.
The government is introducing police and crime commissioners to ensure that public concerns are taken into account when police priorities are set.

Mr Herbert said that there will be safeguards to make sure this does not happen: ’Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) will be scrutinised by a Police and Crime Panel, and there will be complete transparency so that the public will know what is happening.
‘The long-held principle of operational independence of chief constables will not be compromised. We are working with policing partners to set out in a protocol the principles that should guide the relationship between PCCs, Chief Constables and the Home Office in the future.’

Published 10 March 2011