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Overtime cuts possible as West Midlands Police looks to save £30 million

Police overtime may be cut as part of plans to save nearly £30 million.

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West Midlands Police will need to make savings amounting to £29.9 million next year

As part of a mid-term financial plan discussed at a Police and Crime Commissioner’s SPCB meeting yesterday, West Midlands Police will need to make savings amounting to £29.9 million next year.

Many options have been raised on how this will be achieved, including scaling back on overtime pay and making use of reserves.

Simon Foster, police and crime commissioner for West Midlands Police raised concerns that the cuts will have real consequences on the people of the West Midlands.

He said: “As a consequence of the chaos and disorder that has enveloped central government in recent months, I am concerned there is a real risk that policing and the people of the West Midlands will suffer the consequences.

“The government says it wants to maintain the 20,000 officers to be recruited in the so-called “Uplift”, yet without adequate and fair funding for West Midlands Police there is a risk that police officers will be forced to backfill roles that do not need a warrant card, taking them off the streets and away from operational roles and we could see investment in the police estate, fleet and IT all having to be further cut back.

“As I will never fail to remind people, despite the so-called Uplift, West Midlands Police will have 1,000 less officers than it did in 2010.

“That is not common sense and it is a failure to get the basics right.” I call on all our West Midlands MPs and councillors to support my continued calls to government to address this perverse and irrational position.”

As part of the plan, the force also raised the option of reviewing all laptops and desktops to ensure more kit isn’t being carried than required.

Reviewing data sim plans has also been put forward as an option.

Pete Gillett, director of commercial services said: “There have clearly been changes to inflation that have had an impact on our plans.

“Inflation has increased the cost of contracts, and the force is no different where the impact of energy consumption has impacted, despite best practice.

“We have a saving requirement of £29.9 million for next year, the largest we have seen for many years. How we will be addressing this challenge, we will need to look at how we use reserves.”

“We will need to use some reserves to transition into these saving requirements.”

Mr Gillett admits the real-term impact of these cuts is something he has given a lot of consideration.

“I think we can deliver a legally balanced budget, but we must not knee-jerk cut spending in certain areas,” he said.

“The year subsequently in the plan the requirement increases. I have referred to the need to adducting some tactical shorter-term measures while we put longer-term strategies in place.

“Moving our assumption on how we fund shorter-term assets like vehicles. We have been looking at alternative arrangements to offer that funding, such as shorter-term borrowing.

“We are targetting in our plans to reduce overtime spend.”