Wales

Four Welsh police forces to have budgets cut by £6.4m

Police uniform
Image caption The cuts should not affect front line policing, said the minister

Wales' four police authorities have been told they will have their budgets cut by a total of £6.4m this year.

The move was signalled by Policing and Criminal Justice Minister Nick Herbert as part of a UK-wide cut of £125m in funding for forces.

South Wales Police face cuts of £2.8m, North Wales Police £1.4m, Gwent Police £1.3m and Dyfed-Powys Police £900,000.

Dyfed-Powys Police said the news was "disappointing" and would present "a significant challenge".

Mr Herbert said the cuts in funding for 2010/2011 were necessary to help reduce the UK's budget deficit.

"The police need to contribute towards the overall reduction and I will therefore ask every police authority to make a fair share of savings," he said.

The minister said it was for chief constables to "use their expertise and decide what makes most sense for their force".

But he added: "I am quite clear that this saving can be achieved by driving out wasteful spending on support functions, reducing bureaucracy and increasing efficiency in key functions - leaving the frontline of policing strong and secure."

Mr Herbert also welcomed the responsible and constructive way in which policing partners had already responded to the chancellor's announcement of his plans to reduce the national budget deficit.

'Significant challenge'

Dyfed-Powys Police Authority acknowledged that the police service had a part to play in the coalition government's aim to reduce the budget deficit of the country, but described the news as "clearly disappointing."

The authority said it would present "a significant challenge" in terms of balancing the authority budget.

Its chief officers, together with members of the police authority were considering the precise arrangements needed to meet this challenge, the authority said.

"Balancing the budget is going to be extremely difficult," said Dyfed-Powys chief constable Ian Arundale.

But he added: "We are absolutely committed to ensuring that this will not affect the delivery of front line policing.

"We have already taken steps to freeze the filling of all non-essential job vacancies across the force and we will be further scrutinising all items of non-pay expenditure."

Delyth Humfryes, chair of Dyfed-Powys Police Authority, said: "I am absolutely confident that the sound financial position which the authority has puts us in a strong position in terms of dealing with this announcement.

"I know that the chief constable and his team will find solutions which will enable the Dyfed-Powys Police force area to retain its position as the safest place to live, work and visit in all of England and Wales."

The spending review which reports in the autumn will set funding levels beyond 2010/11.

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