POLICE numbers in Warwickshire could drop further because pay rises for officers will be funded from existing budgets.
Ending the four-year one per cent cap on wage increases for police, the government said officers will receive a one per cent rise plus a one-off one per cent bonus next year.
But Warwickshire’s police chief warned the rise would cost the county half a million pounds in the first year – the equivalent of around 12 police officers’ annual salaries.
Warwickshire Police has already lost 138 officers to budget cuts since 2010.
While welcoming the decision to increase pay, the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe said: “The decision to award additional pay now and in the future has an inevitable impact on policing budgets locally.
“The government has said the pay award will be funded within our existing budgets, which means we are unexpectedly now having to find an additional £500,000 this year.”
He welcomed the pay rise as ‘merited by officers who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to protect the public’.
But he added: “While this can be accommodated in the short term, continue to press the case with ministers that a more sustainable, longer-term solution is needed to guarantee fair funding for all police forces into the future.”
Rugby’s Conservative MP Mark Pawsey said he would raise Mr Seccombe’s concerns with Police Minister Nick Hurd and the Treasury.
He said: “At my most recent meeting with Police and Crime Commissioner Seccombe and the Chief Constable of Warwickshire Police Martin Jelley, the issue of the potential implications a rise above one per cent could have on local budgets was discussed.
“I will, of course, be bringing the concerns that were expressed to me in that meeting to the attention of the minister.”
He added overall police spending over the next five years would ‘be protected in real terms’.
“I am very pleased the government has followed the advice of independent pay review bodies in respect of pay for our brave police officers,” he said. “Our police do an incredible job both locally here in Rugby and across the country, as the seven per cent fall in crime in the last year demonstrates.”