Stoke & Staffordshire

Staffordshire PCC candidates say police budget 'a priority'

Joy Garner and Matthew Ellis
Image caption Joy Garner and Matthew Ellis hope to be elected to the position of PCC on 15 November

The candidates for Staffordshire's police and crime commissioner have said dealing with the force budget will be the first priority of the job.

The force faces a budget cut from the government of £38.7m over four years.

Labour candidate Joy Garner said she planned to lobby the Home Secretary over the financial plans.

Conservative candidate Matthew Ellis said that he would look to use the money available "more efficiently" and would use some of the force reserves.

Ms Garner said: "If I'm elected, my first call will be to Home Secretary Theresa May to ask for a fairer settlement because I think Staffordshire has been treated unfairly.

"We've had such massive cuts and the biggest part of the costs in policing are staffing, around 86%, and these reductions are going to cut into staffing.

"Everybody says that frontline policing is the most important thing so I feel we have to fight for the cause," she added.

'Crucial work'

Mr Ellis said: "The public sector has got to start watching every penny and I believe the police can use the money it gets much better."

He said he had a plan to give officers tablet computers which he claimed would free up their time for "more crucial work."

The technology has already been tested by Hampshire Police and the Avon and Somerset force.

He said: "If you look at that pilot it provides 160,000 extra hours of police time on the front line each year and I would use some of the reserves to get it going within six months."

"Instead of keeping pots of reserves, I feel the police should rationalise it because it's public money."

Staffordshire Police's budget was set at £191.9m for 2012/13 - a reduction of about £6m compared to the 2011/12 figure of £198m.

With further cuts expected between now and 2015, the force said it planned to save about £34m by 2015.

Elections for 37 police and crime commissioners in England and four in Wales take place on 15 November.

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