100 more police jobs are at risk due to tax freeze

ON PATROL New special constables needed
ON PATROL New special constables needed
Swansea City Centre. Credit: Wiki Commons (Labelled for reuse)

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UP to 100 extra jobs face the axe following a decision to freeze council tax for policing, Hampshire’s top officer has warned.

Chief Constable Alex Marshall says Hampshire Police Authority’s decision not to approve a 3.25 per cent hike could mean more job losses.

The force is already axing 1,100 posts - about 400 police officers and 700 staff - as it battles to save £53m.

Now the force will need to find an extra £3.294m of savings to bridge the funding gap.

Mr Marshall said: ‘The effect of the decision is likely to lead to that figure not being 1,100, but up to 100 more than the original 1,100.

‘Eighty-five per cent of our budget is people. As a result of needing another £3m we will employ fewer people.’

He added: ‘I am disappointed in the outcome of the meeting but I have a strong team of people, we are a strong organisation and we will continue to protect local visible policing.’

After five votes police authority members yesterday ‘reluctantly’ voted to accept a one-off £3.043m government grant and freeze council tax for the second year running.

The average person living in a band D property will continue to pay £146.25 for policing from April.

Mr Marshall and Hampshire Police Federation chairman John Apter had each recommended a council tax rise.

Mr Apter said: ‘This decision will have a negative impact on providing a front line service and this will be seen by officers as a slap in the face by the police authority.’

Police authority member Judy Venables said: ‘The effect of either raising the precept or taking the government grant is minimal this year but after that the effects will be felt.

‘It’s going to be a financial hole that’s going to be very difficult to fill.’

Cllr Sean Woodward, finance committee vice-chairman said: ‘All public authorities are under huge pressures to save money and keep council tax down.’