The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria Police cost the taxpayer £3million less in 2013/14 than the Police Authority it replaced in 2011/12 – the sharpest decrease of all the forces in England and Wales.
A report released by the Taxpayers’ Alliance today shows that the Northumbria Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) spent £2,912,046 less in 2013/14 than the Police Authority did in 2010/11 – a 69 per cent decrease.
Plus, in terms of spend in 2013/14 per 1,000 members of the electorate, the Northumbria figure of £1.213 is towards the bottom end and below the average of £1,597.
When the posts of Police and Crime Commissioners were announced, Ministers assured taxpayers that the costs involved would not be higher than those of the Police Authorities they replaced, but that has not proved the case in 18 areas. Directly elected on a turnout of just 14.1 per cent in 2012, the commissioners will face elections next year.
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird, said: “I am pleased that this report shows that the Police and Crime Commissioner’s office in Northumbria has made the biggest savings of all in England and Wales of nearly £3million pounds off the annual costs of the former Police Authority.
“We have saved almost 70 per cent a year on those overheads, every penny of which has been put into policing and community safety where the public would want the money to be spent. We will continue to make all possible savings going forward and the figures show that nationwide Police and Crime Commissioners cost less than the Police Authorities. This is despite the fact that the role of PCCs is far wider than that of Police Authorities.
“The future for policing is worrying. These savings are being ploughed into policing, but they will be eclipsed a thousand-fold by the ‘25 per cent to - 40 per cent’ cuts threatened in the Spending Review which would remove tens of millions from the Northumbria Police budget.
“The National Audit Office has recently confirmed that Northumbria has suffered the deepest cuts of all police forces in England and Wales in the past five years. 85 per cent of all the costs of policing are its people and the Chief Constable and I are determined that we will preserve neighbourhood police and keep the place of Northumbria Police as the best in the country for satisfaction with its service.
“People in Northumbria rightly feel safe and I hope that me being the top in the country at making savings should give confidence to local residents that I am doing my best to safeguard what matters to them.
“The figures also show that nationwide PCCs cost overall about £2million a year less than Police Authorities. Democratic oversight of policing is essential and it is clear that PCCs do the job more cheaply.”