Friday, 27 November 2009

Paltry Government funding for Sussex Police risks jobs

The Government has announced its annual grant to Sussex Police for the next budget year: 2010-11.

The cash meets most of the costs of policing in the county - most of the rest is made up by Council Tax.

And the magic number is ...drumroll... just over £174m, one of the lowest grants in the country.

This isn't entirely unexpected - the figure was first published as part of an earlier three-year funding settlement, but that doesn't mean I'm not sorely disappointed.

The Chief Constable has already warned that, with a Government grant at this level, Sussex Police faces a £35m cash shortfall over the next five years, and that jobs may have to go as a result.

The Government knew this - and, having spent billions bailing out the banks, could find an extra few thousand pounds to guarantee bobbies' jobs and safeguard neighbourhood policing here in Sussex.

It looks like Labour's priority lies in protecting the bankers - but not the struggle against crime and anti-social behaviour that's making some lives a daily misery here in Brighton.

Adding an extra few pence on Council Tax bills across Sussex might be the only way we've got left to make sure no jobs are lost at Sussex Police.

I hope the Tories who dominate Sussex Police Authority have got the courage to recognise that no-one likes tax but they are prepared to pay it for effective community-based policing. 

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