Police forces in West Midlands could face combined budget shortfall of £55million by 2026, warns UNISON - The Evesham Observer

Police forces in West Midlands could face combined budget shortfall of £55million by 2026, warns UNISON

Evesham Editorial 16th Jun, 2023   0

AN ANALYSIS of police financial forecasts has revealed forces in West Midlands could face a combined budget shortfall of more than £55million by 2026, potentially putting public safety at risk, says UNISON

The data, based on medium-term financial plans submitted by individual police forces to their local police and crime panels, reveals drastic cuts to the spending planned.

The worst affected force in the region is West Midlands police force (£31.3m), followed by West Mercia police force (£11.7m). Together the two will have a combined budget deficit of more than £45m by 2026. Police forces across England and Wales could face a £720m shortfall over the same period.

While forecasts aren’t set in stone, police budgets look likely to be several hundred million pounds short of what’s needed, says UNISON.

As a result, tackling and preventing crimes such as anti-social behaviour, burglaries, violent assaults, organised crime and fraud could be compromised, says the union.

Many vital staff roles are already being kept vacant or have been cut altogether to save money, adds UNISON.

Cutting police staff jobs will also severely undermine the government’s pledge to put more police on the streets, UNISON warns.

This is because newly recruited officers will need to do the work once done by police staff whose jobs have now been cut, the union says.

UNISON West Midlands regional secretary Ravi Subramanian said: “Without more funding to plug these huge budget shortfalls, public confidence in the police will continue to fall.

“With fewer police staff to investigate cases and smaller numbers of police and community support officers patrolling local neighbourhoods, there’s a risk crime rates will climb.

“Severe cuts to police budgets will leave many forces in West Midlands unable to protect communities or bring criminals to justice.

“Policing will become that much harder and staff will be left feeling increasingly anxious about their futures.

“These figures are yet another warning sign that policing is in deep crisis. Ministers must ensure forces can afford to recruit the right staff to fulfil their duties so officers can be out on the streets keeping people and their communities safe.”


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