Wiltshire police and crime panel raise concerns over commissioner's confusing budget plans
CONCERNS have been raised over a decision to freeze Wiltshire police’s budget when the force has £10million in reserves.
The Wiltshire Police and Crime Panel “reluctantly agreed” to a 2013/14 precept proposed by the Police and Crime Commissioner, Angus Macpherson, at a meeting on Wednesday, February 6..
At the review meeting, the panel said it had a number of concerns including a lack of detail and the difficulty in understanding the proposal in the absence of a police and crime plan.
It was noted that the force had under spent its budget in previous years and reserves were expected to increase to around £10 million by the end of this financial year.
Panel members said they were uneasy over the figure and a lack of justification for it. They also criticised a lack of information on alternative budget options.
The panel had the opportunity to question the Mr Macpherson on his report, during which he recognised the panel’s frustrations.
He said the costs of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner had been kept in line with costs of the previous police authority.
He added brief consideration had been given to a reduction in the precept but future reductions in police funding required the retention of healthy reserves.
A statement released on behalf of the Wiltshire Police and Crime Panel said: “In the interests of introducing some certainty into an otherwise uncertain financial situation, the panel reluctantly agreed to approve the commissioner’s proposal for a zero per cent increase in the police precept.”