The Board of the SPA has today, Wednesday 22 March 2017 approved a budget for policing of £1,059 million. The budget includes a forecast deficit of £47 million which both the SPA and Police Scotland will work to reduce within the year.
Following the Board's decision, which was streamed live via the SPA's dedicated livestream channel, a spokesperson for the SPA said:
"The budget approved for the 2017/18 financial year represents an increase in the overall revenue funding allocation to Police Scotland for the year ahead. However, meeting rising demands for police services and increasing cost pressures provides the challenge to balancing available resources and costs, and why an operational budget deficit of £47 million is forecast - just under 5 per cent of the total funds allocated.
"The priority this year is for Police Scotland to deliver to the challenging revenue budget expectations we have set, and work constructively and proactively with us and the Scottish Government to identify further opportunities for in-year savings or income generation to further reduce the deficit.
"As Police Scotland progress with a review of corporate service and business support functions, we will begin to free up more police officers to deploy into operational roles, and also anticipate the release of 200 police staff posts through non-compulsory VR/ER scheme. While these are subject to detailed business planning and consultation, this is an approach that will increase operational capacity, contribute to a rebalancing of the police workforce, and reduce costs. The assumptions underpinning the budget and where we expect savings to be generated are all set out clearly and transparently for all to see.
"As a responsible employer, the budget factors in costs of a pay award for staff in line with a public sector pay policy, commits to an extending the VR/ER offer to staff for another year, and to maintain police officer numbers at current levels through the coming year.
"Agreeing the 2017-18 budget marks another important step on the journey to delivering the vision and objectives of the Policing 2026 strategy. A journey to increase operational capacity, enhance operational capability, and bring financial sustainability by the end of 2020."