Something will have to give, warns police commissioner as funding cuts are revealed

South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Billings at home in Sheffield
South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Billings at home in Sheffield
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A Yorkshire police commissioner says his force faces “some very hard choices” next year as a result of Government cuts.

Dr Alan Billings, newly-elected as crime commissioner in South Yorkshire, says the county’s force will see a “substantial” reduction in its grant funding for 2015/16.

Government funding to the police will be cut by £299 million - or 4.9 per cent in real terms - to £8.19 billion in the year 2015/16, policing minister Mike Penning said in a written statement.

Every police force area will face the same percentage cut in central Government funding, meaning South Yorkshire Police will lose around £10 million.

It emerged this week that as well as the cost of legal fees for ex-officers appearing at the Hillsborough inquests, it will foot the bill for the new investigation into Rotherham child sex abuse by the National Crime Agency.

Dr Billings said: “We are still awaiting details of the grant allocations from central government and until we receive them it makes it very difficult to be absolutely clear about the budget position for next year.

“But what is clear is that the reduction in grant is substantial and larger than we anticipated. It presents a real challenge for us because all the savings that can be made without impacting on front-line policing have largely been made in previous years.

“If we continue to protect every aspect of front-line policing - which is what the public want - something else will have to give. As a result, some very hard choices will have to be made in 2015.”

Humberside crime commissioner Matthew Grove says his force’s settlement, which will see its central government funding cuts by £6.1 million, is close to what he expected. He said: “We are managing a huge financial challenge which is resulting in a significant number of people having to leave the organisation, while still providing an effective policing service to the public.”