Uncertain financial future facing Gloucestershire Police
GLOUCESTERSHIRE police is "in the dark" when it comes to how much money it will receive from the Government beyond 2015 – with finance bosses preparing for a worst-case scenario of having to make £12million of savings by 2017.
The force is anticipating its funding being reduced even further in the coming years, while it also has to deal with a shifting set of financial responsibilities.
The office of the Police and Crime Commissioner has tried its best to plan for the future by drawing up possible eventualities. And even the best-case scenario makes for wince-inducing reading.
At the moment, Gloucestershire police has a budget of £103million, but the combined effect of inflation and pay rises could take that figure closer to £108million by 2016/17.
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A worst-case scenario of having to find £12million because of government cuts and changing financial commitments would see the force's budget dip below £100million, to £96million, for the first time since 2008/09.
Gloucestershire police is expecting to break even in 2014/15, but is anticipating a need to make between £3million and £4million in savings in 2015/16.
And in 2016/17 it is forecasting the need to make further savings of between £3million and £8million.
That means the best-case financial scenario would mean £6million of savings; the worst, £12million.
Martin Surl, the county's Police and Crime Commissioner, agreed that the force is "a bit in the dark" when it comes to its funding future but said he is "not alarmed" by the projected savings figures.
He said: "We understand our position for the next two to three years but after that it is very unclear.
"We are in no different position to every other authority in the country."
Mr Surl said he is unsure where the savings would come from because the future is, as yet, unclear.
"It is really far too early to say. These are just headline figures that the police and crime panel asked for.
"They do not cause me any alarm because at least for the next two years the figures are manageable.
"Beyond that nobody knows. In line with all of the public sector, there is currently no indication of future funding."
He added: "We fully understand our budget for the next two to three years and there is a lot of work to be done, but we are not alarmed beyond that."