Leicestershire’s civilian police chief warns that the force may be facing a 'large deficit' in 2024-25

Rupert Matthews, the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said he wants to have a 'tighter grip on what is going on with our finances'

Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 12:52 pm
Updated Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 12:54 pm

Leicestershire’s civilian police chief is to run the rule over the force’s budget after warning the police may be facing a “large deficit” in 2024-25.

Rupert Matthews, the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said he is acting to make doubly sure that all the figures add up.

He spoke to the Harborough Mail after spelling out his concerns to the Police and Crime Panel for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.

Rupert Matthews, the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner
Rupert Matthews, the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner

“I want to have a tighter grip on what is going on with our finances.

“I am holding ongoing talks with police headquarters about this,” Mr Matthews, who lives in Kibworth Beauchamp, told the Mail.

“I am concerned about the figures for two or three years down the line.

“I am new in this post as PCC after all so I want to make sure that I fully understand the situation.

“It might well turn out to be a damp squib.

“But I’d rather be cautious and thorough when all is said and done rather than just letting this go.

“I hope to present a report on this to the panel at the end of July.”

Mr Matthews told the Police and Crime Panel: “As Police and Crime Commissioner I take my responsibilities and duties very seriously.

“Among these is a requirement to be open and honest with you as the Police and Crime Panel.

“It is your duty to review and scrutinise decisions taken by the Police and Crime Commissioner, and in particular to review the PCC’s Draft Police and Crime Plan, Annual Report and the proposed precept, which is based on the Budget.

“As such I believe it is my duty to report to you at the earliest possible opportunity any developments which may impact on the matters which rightly come under your review and scrutiny powers,” said the new PCC.

“You will be aware of the report on the precept and the budget that was brought to this Panel in January of this year.

“The report, as laid before you at that meeting, included references to various risk factors, the use of reserves, estimates regarding likely future pay awards and other matters contained in the Medium Term Financial Plan.

“I firmly believe that this Force must have a robust strategy of sustainability for its budget in the short and medium term.

“For that reason I am concerned that the future funding commitments contained in that report appear to result in a large deficit in 2024/25.

“I have, therefore, decided to scrutinise the Medium Term Financial Plan for myself,” said Mr Matthews.

“I have also commissioned some work from the Force to explore the options ahead.

“I hope to bring a report on these matters to the next meeting of this Panel.”

A Leicestershire Police spokesperson said: “The budget for 2021/22, which included a medium-term financial plan, was considered and agreed by the Police and Crime Panel in January 2021.

“We remain in close and constant dialogue with the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner about all issues related to expenditure, sustainability and good financial management.”