Saturday, January 21, 2006

Softly Softly

The results of the maths exercise on the true cost of losing Kent police as a stand-alone force are starting to creep out.

According to official sources, the costs of amalgamation could leave taxpayers in the South East picking up a bill for about £60million, spread over ten years or roughly the same amount Kent taxpayers currently contribute via council tax towards the force’s yearly budget of £340million.

Every one per cent extra on the police share of the council tax generates about £700,000 and so if Kent police was forced to raise an additional £6million from taxpayers each year, it would translate as an 8.5 per cent increase on our community charge, half of which would be spent on new computer systems and as somewhat of an authority on the subject of public sector computing, I would be inclined to add a further 50% contingency to this figure, based on good precedent.

One good reason for a merger is the search for efficiency, because the different police forces or should I say services, vary wildly in their performance and ability to deliver a service to the community. Some are so bad that their results are pitiful and the costs of policing to the public are now quite outrageous.

A second reason for seeking an amalgamation, is that “The wheels are falling off” the criminal justice system in its fight against Serious and Organised Crime but there's far too much to write about this than I have room here.

1 comment:

Cllr David Green said...

Trouble is, these estimates for likely costs come from the Kent Police. It would seem inevitable that they would try to defend the status quo.
They claim that £23M would be needed to co-ordinate disparate computer systems. As you probably know, Kent Police have just finished upgrading their's. My information is that Sussex is in the process of installing exactly the same system from the same supplier (ComputaCenter)and that Surrey are likely to go down the same route. One of the reasons is the huge savings the Police can make using voice over IP internally