POLICE AND CRIME Commissioner Christopher Salmon is to use the Dyfed Powys Police reserves to meet ongoing revenue requirements.
In the Budget report, Mr Salmon says: “I have sought to act prudently and reflect the uncertainty which still remains in relation to future financial settlements for policing the Dyfed Powys area, whilst setting a challenging but achievable cost reduction target for the Chief Constable.”
While the reduction in the central government grant to the Police has gone down by 0.6%, the cut to the overall Police budget will be significantly higher following the Commissioner’s decision to freeze the Force’s Council Tax precept and taxation and national insurance changes.
The actual cut, in money terms, the Commissioner proposes is just over £3m out of a budget of £93m: just under three and a quarter percent
The Commissioner acknowledges that the introduction of a new funding formula, due to be introduced in 2017/18, will provide a period of uncertainty.
However, and notwithstanding such uncertainty, the Commissioner plans to use in excess of £24m of reserves over the next three years. That is as one with the Commissioner’s plans to PCC’s to use reserves to fund an element of the revenue budgets for 2015/16 to 2018/19.
At the end of 2015/16 total reserves are expected to be approximately £30.121m. The Police plans anticipate spending of £24.103m over the coming four years. At the end of 2019/20, the general reserve will remain at £4.5m. Other reserves will amount to £1.518m.
Some of that expenditure, £4m, is necessary to extract the Force from the ruinous PFI contract it entered into in respect of Ammanford Police Station. That contract is one for which Mr Salmon is not responsible and upon which he acted swiftly in resolution
It is the use of reserves to fund £4m of revenue expenditure, and effectively bankroll reducing and freezing the Force’s Council Tax precept is one that is unusual, not least as had the Police moderately increased its precept (as it could have done) the amount taken out of the reserves would have been reduced and operational flexibility maintained.
As plans currently stand, the whole of the capital reserve will be depleted by the end of 2019/20.
The Herald understands the position to be that the reserves constitute money the public have paid, and the plan is to spend the majority of it over the coming years, the Commissioner believes wisely, leaving a much more modest but workable reserve at the end of the process.
In view of the coming election, the issue of the financial prudence of such a move is likely to be a significant issue, alongside the vexed issue of the fate of the Force’s helicopter; a subject that still rankles with the public and is a subject all opposing candidates in the forthcoming election for the position of Police and Crime Commissioner seem likely to attempt to exploit.
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THE HERO of London Bridge who was stabbed nine times as he fought off three terrorists armed with just a police baton has called on Carmarthen people to nominate an unsung hero of their own.
And British Transport Police Officer Wayne Marques said bravery and courage should be recognised because it is inspiring and encouraging to others.
He said: “Every tragedy has a silver lining and it is up to us to make sure that silver shines.”
Wayne, 39, who won the Against All Odds category in last year’s global hearing specialists Amplifon’s Brave Britons awards, was on patrol in the area of London Bridge Station when he heard screams on the evening of June 3 last year and then he saw people being stabbed in Borough High Street near the junction with London Bridge Street.
He charged at one of the terrorists lashing out with his baton. But soon he was being attacked by all three terrorists one stabbing him above his right eye which cause him to go temporarily blind in the eye.
More than 12 months on and Wayne still travels from his South London home to Harrogate, Yorkshire, where he receives rehabilitation treatment.
Seven people died in the attack and many more were badly injured.
Now Wayne is calling on people who know of acts of courage or bravery to nominate them for this year’s Amplifon – who have a store in Merlins Walk Shopping Centre, Carmarthen – Brave Briton awards.
He said: “I first felt surprised and then humble when I was nominated by a person I didn’t even know. The fact they had taken their time to fill in a form and nominate me made me feel very honoured. It would have been wrong for me to respond in any other way.”
Wayne added: “We need more people honoured in the way I was because there are a lot of people out there who go beyond what is expected of them for the sake of others.
“Even uniformed services personnel who do a job where they are expected to sometimes face danger go beyond that expectation and react to the highest magnitude.
“To nominate others and put them in the limelight is so inspiring and encouraging to others in their communities and around the country.
“Through adversity we as a nation tend to pull together. How we rally together makes this country great.”
There are six categories in the Amplifon Brave Britons awards: Against All Odds, Young Hero, Service To Their Country, Active Agers, Hero Pet, and Charity Champion.
Anyone who wishes to nominate a hero in any of the categories should visit http://www.amplifon.com
Finalists will be invited to an awards ceremony to be held at the Army and Navy Club, Pall Mall, London, on Tuesday, October 16.
A panel of judges including Falklands hero Simon Weston will also choose an overall Hero from the category winners who will win a trip to Italy.
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