Chairman defends tax rise by Staffordshire Police Authority

The chairman of Staffordshire Police Authority has defended the decision to raise its proportion of the Council Tax.

County Councillor Matthew Ellis (Cons, Lichfield Rural East) had criticised the organisation for making the decision, saying “setting tax without public accountability is unacceptable in 2010”.

David Pearsall

David Pearsall

But the Authority’s Chairman, David Pearsall, has insisted that the current financial climate should not impact on policing provision.

He said:

“Whilst the Police Authority itself is not directly elected, all members, regardless of political affiliation, have a duty to represent the communities of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent.  They carry out this responsibility by consulting and engaging with local communities to ensure the views of people are heard, appreciated and taken into account in the way the Authority goes about its business.

“We have already achieved more than £56m savings since 1999 and this year we are planning on achieving efficiency savings of a further £4.6m.  Indeed, the Staffordshire Police Authority is the top-rated Police Authority in England and Wales for the effective use and management of resources, assessed by the Audit Commission.

“The Authority firmly believes that a fundamental part of its role is to ensure that the public and communities get the best possible police service from the Staffordshire force and that will remain our objective notwithstanding the period of financial constraint which undoubtedly lies ahead.”

Mr Pearsall also claimed that the Staffordshire Police Authority had been a proven success.

He explained:

“Since the introduction of self-standing Police Authorities in April 1995, with statutory duties which include holding the Chief Constable to account for the delivery of police services in our area, and securing an effective and efficient police force, not least through scrutiny of the force’s performance, crime in our area has declined in overall terms by more than 40 per cent.”

The Authority firmly believes that a fundamental part of its role is to ensure that the public and communities get the best possible police service from the Staffordshire force and that will remain our objective notwithstanding the period of financial constraint which undoubtedly lies ahead.”
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16 Comments

  1. Cynic

    2nd March, 2010 at 11:28 am

    IF crime is down (Ha Ha) why do you need all the staff?
    Is it so special groups can have extra holidays?
    Or is it so they can take (mandatory/womandatory?) sick days off? Are the police one of the groups with the highest number of sick days per head?

  2. Andy

    2nd March, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    I don’t think we’re in some crime ridden hell hole myself, even though I have myself been a viticm of crime. I can beleive that crime is down.

    There are problems and they do need to be tackled but making snide comments about sick days and perceived “political correctness gone mad” is not useful, quite the opposite in fact.

  3. Cynic

    2nd March, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    Quote from express&star.”Staffordshire Police said its sickness figures were not available” If you know anything about business you will also be surprised that an organisation the size of the police do not have hour by hour notes/data for sick leave. But then i am not sure if the police know yet how to use a computer!!! Did you see the police found a surprising phenomena – a few doz staff had the same illness each year – on xmas day 2 or 3 year running. Crime may be down but as i do not know any way to check the data i chose not to believe blindly what i am told. If they had sacked 40 per cent and reduced my bill i might believe them. Why do they need so many staff if the figs are down by such a large amount?

  4. Asellus aquaticus

    3rd March, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    “IF crime is down (Ha Ha) why do you need all the staff?”

    Erm. Perhaps to keep it down? To sack 40% of the police force because they’ve been successful in reducing crime by 40% would be like sacking 40% of your sales team for achieving 40% more sales. It’s an ongoing situation, not a one off reduction.

    And yes, there may well be people taking inappropriate sickies in the police force, but I hardly think it’s an exclusive problem to them or even to the public sector for that matter. I think you are confusing two different issues, Cynic.

  5. Cynic

    3rd March, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    40 per cent down is reported crime – not solved crimes.
    Police record history.
    A factory with less orders (less crime) would get rid of staff.
    If we use your way of thinking – less crime more staff ?
    IF and I did say IF we did see more (any) police on the beat your argument MIGHT stand on the deterrent effect.

    If you would like to do some home work you will find “sickies” are worse in the police (I am not talking about injuries at work) and other quango’s than the private sector. Also look at the number of “Sick” people that get well the day before their money stops!
    In the private sector people are given a wage for turning up and working. Is it true the police get a wage whether they work or not AND get a bonus for actually turning up? The more sick time/holiday/permission to be absent etc the more staff needed to do the same job.
    Quote “Staffordshire Police Authority member Clive Brian, who is also a Stoke-on-Trent city councilor, said: “I was disappointed that it appeared some officers and staff were influenced by the time of year.” End quote . Is that code for they are only “sick” when it suits their home life?

  6. Steven Norman

    4th March, 2010 at 12:36 am

    And don’t forget – voted for by the Leader of Staffordshire County Council, Phillip Atkins (to the annoyance of at least one of his Cabinet members!).

  7. Asellus aquaticus

    4th March, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    @ Cynic – “40 per cent down is reported crime – not solved crimes.”

    What’s wrong with that? Surely prevention is better than cure? Would you prefer the police to concentrate their efforts on acting after the event?

    It is undoubtedly true that many members of the public would prefer to see more police on the beat and indeed I find it reassuring to see them out and about. But your assumption that “bobbies on the beat ” is the only, or the main deterrent to crime is misplaced. Much criminal activity is intelligent, organised and sophisticated, and the police have to counter that accordingly.

    I totally agree that if there is widespread abuse of the police force sickness policy then it should be addressed, but I’m unconvinced that some alleged abuse of sick leave – together with a fall in reported crime is a sensible basis to make swingeing cuts in the police force budget.

  8. Cynic

    4th March, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    ” intelligent, organised and sophisticated, and the police ” are you allowed to use all those words in the same sentance? Since you seem hell bent on defending police being paid for not working – where would you apply the cuts?

  9. Asellus aquaticus

    4th March, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    I’m not hell bent on defending police being paid for not working, I’ve clearly stated that I think that any abuse of sick pay should be addressed.

    And to be honest, I don’t know enough about the whole picture to determine whether there should be any cuts or even if there should be increases to their budget. But neither do I have a personal grudge against the police, nor do I think they should be so excitedly attacked and insulted on the basis of a quote from the Express and Star.

  10. Andy T

    18th March, 2010 at 12:51 am

    arsellus aquaticus , to quote your own words…

    ……. “I don’t know enough about the whole picture to determine whether there should be any cuts or even if there should be increases to their budget.“

    why then , do you continue to debate, with such vigour , in defence of something you admit to know `not enough` about ,when even a police authority member & councillor has spoken publically about the mockery of officers `sick leave` ? on reflection ,it is far more feasible to me that officers are abusing the system than to believe it a co-incidence of repeated illness the same date year on year …..next time you see an officer on duty in burntwood maybe ask them … dont hold your breath …

  11. Asellus aquaticus

    18th March, 2010 at 11:36 am

    …Sigh…

    If you actually paid any attention to read my posts, Andy T, instead of childishly concentrating on how you could work an insult into my name, you would see that I have repeatedly agreed, in just about every post, that if there is abuse of the sick pay system, it should be dealt with.

    However, whilst I freely admit that I don’t know a great deal about managing the budget of a police force, I’m pretty sure that it’s a damn sight more complicated than recommending sweeping staff cuts on the basis of a reduction in reported crime and a newspaper article about abuse of sick leave. And I choose to debate it with vigour, because I always find it annoying when people use flawed and illogical argument to as an excuse to vent their own personal insults at a profession or service.

    However, I take it from your criticism of my post that you obviously do know enough about the impact of the alledged abuse of sick pay together with all other pressures on police force budgets to be able to determine exactly what cuts should be made? Please do tell then, exactly how much is lost through the abuse, how big an issue is it compared to any other current budgetary pressures, and how many full time equivalents should be cut from the police force as a result without a negative impact on crime figures?
    You show me how much you actually know about it and I’ll concede your point.

  12. Andy T

    19th March, 2010 at 2:02 am

    george , please keep focused on the core point of the debate , ….Let me refresh. QUOTE; The chairman of Staffordshire Police Authority has defended the decision to raise its proportion of the Council Tax. QUOTE; “We have already achieved more than £56m savings since 1999 and this year we are planning on achieving efficiency savings of a further £4.6m. QUOTE ;“Since the introduction of self-standing Police Authorities in April 1995………..crime in our area has declined in overall terms by more than 40 per cent.”. An obvious query , you must admit would be…with such massive savings from existing payments , why the need for an increase of payments to Staffs Police from council tax revenue , at a time when crime has fallen by 40%…? A point made by Cynic with .. QUOTE;
    IF crime is down (Ha Ha) why do you need all the staff? …ending his post with…QUOTE; Are the police one of the groups with the highest number of sick days per head? … I think the argument being made is if Staffs Police limited the number of statutory sick days allocated to staff , the savings would negate the need for increases, obviously the remarks made by Staffordshire Police Authority member Clive Brian, who is also a Stoke-on-Trent city councilor when asked about dozens of officers taking sick leave at xmas/new year QUOTE;: “I was disappointed that it appeared some officers and staff were influenced by the time of year..” would seem to endorse this view….would you not agree ? It is at this point the splitting of hairs over `reported & solved` crimes took place between yourself & cynic , with YOUR post ending …QUOTE; “I totally agree that if there is widespread abuse of the police force sickness policy then it should be addressed, but I’m unconvinced that some alleged abuse of sick leave – together with a fall in reported crime is a sensible basis to make swingeing cuts in the police force budget.”…….At no point prior to this did anybody mention CUTS to the police budget ……The remarks by cynic .. QUOTE; “IF they had sacked 40 % and reduced my bill i might believe them….” were targetting his dis-belief of released crime figures , (parameters of which change on a regular basis to suit the situation at hand , a charge regularly levelled at police authorities up and down the country in parliament) It was your un-founded CUTS remark that clouded the issue & took the debate from … “Should it not be addressed that without any consultation with taxpayers , written or verbal , as to the reasons why , . . Staffs Police has increased their share of council tax revenue …? I can only presume from this next post….QUOTE;” And don’t forget – voted for by the Leader of Staffordshire County Council, Phillip Atkins (to the annoyance of at least one of his Cabinet members!)” Cllr. Steve Norman agrees…………………. George , if YOU had not been so pre-occupied in the pusuit of justifying YOUR posts/beliefs on the integrity of police crime figures & validity of police board member & elected Cllr Dean`s concerns over statutory sick-days abuse, never mind the sideshow YOU created on police budget cuts ,….. YOU would have seen an UN-ELECTED , SELF REGULATING Police Authority deciding how much more TAX it wants to impose on you . . . but you didn`t . . .and nor will other readers/tax-payers who will have clicked off long ago . . good work agent Double A or is that P.C. Waterman ..this diatribe you posted confirms my observations…….QUOTE; “I take it from your criticism of my post that you obviously do know enough about the impact of the alledged abuse of sick pay together with all other pressures on police force budgets to be able to determine exactly what cuts should be made? Please do tell then, exactly how much is lost through the abuse, how big an issue is it compared to any other current budgetary pressures, and how many full time equivalents should be cut from the police force as a result without a negative impact on crime figures?” . . .. . . . . alledged abuse ! …. cuts in budget ! ….cuts in full time equivalents from force ? …… and that beauty ….`The Big Issue` …quite ironic that ! …you must concede…..

  13. Asellus aquaticus

    19th March, 2010 at 11:03 am

    Ah sorry, I misunderstood. I had thought I was entering into a debate in response to Cynic’s statement “Why do they need so many staff if the figs are down by such a large amount?”

    I now realize that it was in fact very, very wrong of me to have had the sheer audacity to dare to question what was of course a well thought out, balanced and even-handed attack on the police, and I wholly accept that both I and the Staffordshire police force, and the unelected (except for the ones that are) Police Authority are all terribly, terribly stupid, unfocussed, corrupt and incapable of understanding all other readers/tax payers’ points of view.

    However, despite your very long and hugely informative post, I’m embarrassed to admit that I still don’t think I’ve actually learned enough to be able to tell whether or not the police force are overstaffed or how accurate or inaccurate their reported figures are.

    I’ll tell you what, I’ll read the full Express and Star article again, and then I’m sure I’ll have all the knowledge I need to be able to make reasoned and unprejudiced judgments on how to manage a budget for a police force serving a population of over 1,000,000 people.

  14. Andy T

    26th March, 2010 at 1:23 am

    seems you have a hell of a lot more opinions on the police than you originally let on Mr Cyclops , why not read other articles..the sentinal wrote..POLICE are failing to send officers out to investigate more than a third of crimes committed in Staffordshire.

    Latest figures show 35 per cent of the 85,000 reported crimes in the county were dismissed as unsolvable after initial phone conversations with victims last year…staffs police federation chairman mark judson said.. “It would be wonderful to say that everyone who reports a crime gets a visit from a police officer who then investigates it, but the reality is that is probably not going to happen.” …..on reflection , dont bother , it would be pointless , i envy your unwavering beliefs in support of this countys police force . . . i see no reason to continue further with a debate with a diadochi of your order…

  15. Asellus aquaticus

    27th March, 2010 at 11:37 am

    Andy T, given that your method of “debate” is simply to hurl abuse at somebody who doesn’t wholeheartedly agree with your viewpoint, I’m also quite happy to discontinue. I suspect a lot of your “debates” end badly.

    However, I’m more bemused than offended by your last bit of name calling. A diadochi? One of the generals who fell out with each other after the death of Alexander the Great? Nope, you’ve lost me there.

  16. Andy T

    1st April, 2010 at 12:14 am

    Nearly forgot………….R.S.V.P.