Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne presented an update on the force’s medium term financial strategy.
Chief finance officer, Iain McCulloch told members at the Sussex Police and Crime Panel meeting on Friday, October 6.that the money had been made available following a review of reserves and negotiation with the Chief Constable about how that money should be used.
“He has come up with a plan, which we have reviewed and scrutinised, to be able to use that to help smooth the glide path of the medium term financial strategy,” said Mr McCulloch.
“It won’t change in total the £26.5million that we have to save over that period, but what it does do is change the profile of when we need to make that and should provide chief constable with the resources to be able to manage the service through that.”
Mr McCulloch also reported a projected £2million underspend on this year’s budget so far, but advised Panel members that it was still very early in the financial year and that further challenges lay ahead.
An update was given on the progress made in four priority areas identified for additional investment in the 2017/18 budget. This included the introduction of the Community Priority teams, the purchase of five armed response vehicles, and plans to deploy Public Protection Investigators and Prevention Youth Officers next month.
The Panel, made up of Councillors from across Sussex and independent members, pledged to monitor the force’s financial situation and proposals for its 2018/19 precept through its working group.
Members also agreed to discuss collaboration between the Police and Crime Commissioner and local authorities when lobbying central Government for a fairer funding deal.
The meeting also covered the development of video court links across the South East – a project being led by the Commissioner which will allow officers and vulnerable victims and witnesses to give video evidence, rather than to travel to a court.
The Panel also received an update on the introduction of Prevention Youth Officers to develop and maintain relationships with schools and work with children and young people both inside and outside traditional school hours.