North Yorkshire Police to balance books by leaving 120 posts vacant

Photo: North Yorkshire Police.

A commissioner responsible for a police force with the country’s highest proportion of Police Community Support Officers making up its staff has revealed a plan to leave more than 120 jobs vacant this year to balance the books.

Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Zoe Metcalfe will next week ask a panel of North Yorkshire and York councillors and experts to consider increasing the force’s council tax demand by 4.99 per cent, which would amount to £14.03 extra for the average band D household, which would pay £295.08 for policing in the county.

Under the proposal, North Yorkshire taxpayers would be contributing 45 per cent of their police force’s £191m income, whereas Northumberland residents’ contribution only equates to 19.3 per cent of their force’s funding.

Of 2,343 responses from residents over the proposed police budget, some 55 per cent said they would be prepared to pay up to £5.60 more – an increase of up to 1.99 per cent.

Nevertheless, the commissioner’s report concludes there is “significant support from the public for an increase of at least £10”.

However, a report by the commissioner to the panel also highlights that North Yorkshire has among the highest policing precept levels in England and Wales but will need to make £8.2m of savings in the coming year to balance the books.

The report states: “I have been clear with the force that in asking the public of North Yorkshire to pay more they should expect more from their police service.

“As you would expect with the predicted continuing inflation and potential pay awards that the budget will continue to be a challenge and therefore the chief constable has indicated that an organisational and operational review will be taking place to restructure the organisation to deliver the best possible front line and visible policing services within the new future budget constraints.”

The proposed precept increase will also be used for long-awaited service improvements, such as £1.9m extra to improve 999 emergency call handling times, 101 call handling time, and expand means of the public contacting police.

The report states: “Demand profiling has identified that in comparison to other forces, North Yorkshire Police have a significantly smaller workforce in the control room than other comparable forces.”

Costs facing the force are expected to increase by £18m, mainly due to pay rises and inflation.

With a £1.5m injection it is proposed to boost frontline uniformed response teams, which will see the number of officers rise to 1,645. Since 2001, the number of response offices in the City, County and Coastal Command units has risen significantly, from 87, 142 and 96 to 146, 163 and 105 respectively.

The report says due to the labour market crisis, some 50 Police Community Support Officers posts “have been unable to be filled despite recruitment efforts”, and will remain unfilled this year to save £2m, particularly as the force already employs the highest proportion of PCSOs compared to other staff in England.

To cut costs by another £1.2m it is proposed the force will allow non-officer staff vacancies rise from 50 to 74.

Meanwhile, the report states extra resources are needed to cope with increased demands on areas such as child protection, domestic violence and safeguarding the most vulnerable, as the need for more officers to investigate burglaries, robberies, and serious violence has become plain.

The report states: “This has now reached a point where the demands and workload are no longer manageable and an increase in resources is required.”

2 Comments

  1. No….£5.60 was reasonable… NOT £10 !
    How does she work that out?
    Seems we pay lots more than other areas….why?

  2. How did the commissioner come to this “significant “ conclusion?
    Time for North Yorkshire to carry out a full review, with regard to the method of funding the Police and Fire services. A more intellectual approach perhaps, instead of bludgeoning the public with tax increases year on year. We are all under the same financial constraints.

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