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Police funding cut by a fifth over next four years
3:35pm Wednesday 20th October 2010 in News
Government funding for the police will be cut by a fifth in real terms over the next four years, the Treasury said today.
Chancellor George Osborne told MPs police spending will fall by 4% each year of the spending settlement, with the aim of avoiding any reduction in the visi-bility and availability of police on the streets.
Police budgets will fall by 14% in real terms over the next four years, the Treasury said, if police authorities increase the police precept, part of the council tax, at the level forecast by the Office of Budget Responsibility.
Spending will be focused on "protecting the public and ensuring the security of our border", the Treasury said.
"Counter-terrorism specific policing will be protected with a smaller percentage cut than overall police funding of 10% in real terms and we will ensure the right funding is in place to deliver a safe and secure Olympic Games in 2012," it said.
The Home Office's central administration budget will be reduced by 33% in real terms over the same period and its capital budget, which includes long-term assets, such as buildings and IT, will fall by 49%.
The UK Border Agency's budget will also be cut by up to one fifth. "The agency will save around £500 million in efficiencies by reducing support costs; im-proving productivity and value for money from commercial suppliers," the Treasury said. "It will also invest in new technologies to secure the border and control migration at a lower cost.”
It added that the National Policing Improvement Agency will be abolished, saving at least £50 million, with some of its functions being absorbed into the Na-tional Crime Agency.
The Home Office also plans to "make it possible for employers to share CRB checks, reducing the need for multiple checks" and enable police forces to "make procurement savings by acting together when buying goods and services".
Home Secretary Theresa May said: "My absolute priority, as Home Secretary, is to ensure that the UK retains its capabilities to protect the public, secure the border and tackle the terrorist threat.
"We also have a responsibility to reduce the budget deficit and the Home Office must play its part in this.
"I believe that by improving efficiency, driving out waste, and increasing productivity we can maintain a strong police service, a secure border and effective counter terrorism capabilities whilst delivering significant savings."