Police force hit by more cuts on top of £55m economy drive

Hampshire Police has been hit with further funding cuts
Hampshire Police has been hit with further funding cuts

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HAMPSHIRE police has been hit with a further £10m cut in government funding, the Home Office has revealed.

The figure comes on top of the extra £25m it has to save by April 2017.

The force has already saved £55m since 2010, bringing the new total to £90m.

John Apter, chairman of Hampshire Police Federation, said the force is in crisis. Mr Apter, pictured, told The News: ‘The force is on its knees, in certain areas of the force we’re in crisis.

‘We’ve restructured and collaborated, we’ve reduced officer numbers. We’ve gone right down to the bone.’

‘We need the public to speak up for us now.’

He said Hampshire police and crime commissioner Simon Hayes also needs to make the case against cuts to policing.

It comes as policing minister Mike Penning announced an overall cut of £299m to forces in England and Wales.

Hampshire has a grant of £207m for 2014-15 but this was reduced to £197m for 2015-16.

An extra £30m will be given to the Independent Police Complaints Commission, £9.4m to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, £4.6m to the College of Policing and £70m to the Police Innovation Fund.

Hampshire police did not issue a statement about the cuts to the force. But it reiterated its Chief Constable Andy Marsh’s previous comments on cuts.

He said: ‘If budgets are cut further beyond 2016 we will be hit disproportionately hard and we will have no other option but to further reduce our frontline services.

‘This can only impact our ability to serve the victims of crime.’

Meanwhile, councils are to receive large government grants in return for freezing council tax rates.

Payments will only be given if authorities instead agree to raise charges.

Portsmouth, which has produced its budget for next year on the basis councillors will agree to a tax freeze, would get £719,141.

Fareham would pocket £61,695, Gosport £56,900 and Havant £85,239.

Tax rates in the area will not be decided until early next year.

Despite councils hitting out against government cuts, tax campaigners believe there are still ‘huge opportunities’ to make savings within authorities to ensure public services are protected.

Andy Silvester, campaign manager for The TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: ‘Britain is £1.4 trillion in debt, and local councils have to play their part in finding necessary savings.

‘There remain huge opportunities to combine departments and merge back-room services to create efficiencies, and we also need to look again at the basic role of local government and what it should be delivering.

‘The council must prioritise resources on frontline services.’