Bosses at Northumbria Police have raised major concerns around the cost of fuel.
It is estimated the force uses about 1.3 million litres of fuel every year, straining the books as prices rise at the pump, while senior officers are also braced for gas and electricity bills to surge by as much as 55%, according to estimates by the North East Procurement Organisation (NEPO).
Northumbria Police has savings of £2 million earmarked to manage inflation rises, but concerns are raising about how far this “one off” pot of cash will go as reserves dwindle further.
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Kevin Lang, chief financial officer for the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), said: “We will have to look at a more permanent solution and that will more than likely create budget pressures for the next three years.”
Speaking to the Northumbria Police and Crime Panel, members were also told an austerity reserve, previously used to “cushion” cuts to frontline policing, is almost exhausted, having fallen from £74 million to £10.1 million over the last 12 years.
Kim McGuinness, the PCC, raised the police precept on council tax bills by 7% earlier this year in a bid to shore-up finances.
Government grant funding has been confirmed, but only for one year, with minimum increases provided for police funding on a national scale in 2023/244 and 24/25.
Kim McGuinness also predicted future cuts or funding reductions following the appointment of a new Prime Minister, after propsective leader Rishi Sunak suggested he would only ring fence child protection funding.