Almost 200 Leicestershire police jobs set to be cut

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Almost 200 Leicestershire police jobs could be axed due to a £5.4million hole in the budget but officer numbers will remain the same.

Addressing the police and crime panel at County Hall during a debate about the 2024/25 budget, the force’s chief constable, Rob Nixon, said the force would have to make ‘very difficult decisions’, and that county residents were not ‘being given a fair slice of the formula’ when it came to funding.

Councillors voted at the meeting to approve Leicestershire Police’s share of Council Tax for the next financial year at the maximum possible amount of £13 for an average Band D property, representing an increase of 4.76 per cent.

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But at £243.15 million, the force’s overall budget for the year will fall short by £5.4million, which Mr Nixon said was ‘falling on staff”’.

He blamed the shortfall largely on ‘unfunded’ pay awards over the past two years – the government agreed a £1,900 pay increase for police staff in 2022, while a further seven per cent rise was confirmed last year.

Mr Nixon said: “Potentially we could be talking about up to 188 staff, which is a fairly significant number.

"These are staff that are doing frontline roles. So when we talk about a £5.4million gap, and that is falling on staff, we are going to have to make some very difficult decisions, and it will have an impact in various different elements of the force.

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“There would be no area across the force that wouldn’t be touched on by this level of cuts, but I’m confident we’ll do it in a really sensitive and measured way.”

Leicestershire’s police and crime commissioner, Rupert Matthews, said afterwards that it would be ‘downright irresponsible’ to put recent progress – including a 332 increase in police officers, and an expanded rural crime team – at risk, and said the Council Tax increase was necessary.

In a statement issued in response to the proposed budget, Labour candidate for the police commissioner role, Rory Palmer, said the police’s funding allocation was ‘not good enough’.

He said: “As the official budget report states, we have fewer police officers here in Leicestershire than in 2009, and the force has had to find a staggering £42million in budget savings since 2011.”