06 Nov 2018
Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn warns that Dyfed-Powys Police is nearing tipping point and faces difficult decisions after being hit with a pensions bill of more than £4 million by HM Treasury.
Central Government has asked police forces across England and Wales to pay more toward pension liabilities, resulting in concerns that the money could come from individual force’s budgets and therefore have a significant impact on local policing. Across England and Wales the police pensions cost is set to increase by £165 million in 2019/20 before rising to £417 million, which could mean 4,000 fewer officers next year and 10,000 fewer from 2020/21.
As a worst case scenario for Dyfed-Powys Police, this could mean a loss of 38 officers in 2019/20 and a total of 97 officers for 2020/21, placing great pressures on resources and posing a real threat to community safety.
Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn has written to all Dyfed-Powys MPs and AMs raising his concerns about the critical and precarious position that Dyfed-Powys and the police service in general face. He has also invited elected representatives to a briefing with him in December.
Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn said: "We are, without doubt, nearing tipping point in relation to Police funding in Dyfed-Powys. I have been working prudently alongside the force to ensure that the precept remains stable for the tax payer next year. With the handing of a substantial and unprecedented pensions bill from the Treasury, financial stability has now been put at significant risk, and poses a threat to our local communities. If the Treasury is to continue with its plans, without providing additional funding, we will have to look at a range of options before making some difficult decisions. I cannot, by law set an unbalanced budget. This means that this money would have to be found from increasing council tax, drawing from reserves, or by reducing expenditure. We will do our very best to limit the impact of this on the public in Dyfed-Powys”.
Dyfed Powys Police’s Director of Finance, Edwin Harries said “The Force is monitoring the position as regards Public Sector Pensions employer contributions and is awaiting further guidance from the National Police Chiefs Council in relation to the exact accounting requirements for the next financial year. It is estimated that the financial impact on revenue budgets in 2019/20 could be as high as £1.6 million with a further £2.6 million being required in 2020/21. It is not clear whether any funding will be made available to offset these costs at this stage. The grant settlement for 2019/20 is expected in December 2018 with the 2020/21 funding position being reliant on the outcome of the Comprehensive Spending Review.”