Overspending by Dorset Police could cut balances by £4.7million

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Overspending by Dorset Police could reduce its balances by £4.7million at the end of the financial year – unless resolved before then.

Force figures show its revenue budget is currently around £1m higher than expected, although the sum is less than 1% of the annual revenue budget of £157.5m.

A report to the county’s Policing and Crime Committee warns: ‘If the variance is still unfavorable at the end of the year, it will reduce the general fund balance to £4.75m or 3% net expenses. This would be at the minimum reserve level. However, the Gendarmerie is actively managing the position in order to reduce planned overspending by the end of the year.

For capital expenditure, the force is £8.5million higher than expected – although the reason for this is that expenditure on projects which were due to be underway have been delayed, not started or completed.

The force has a capital budget of £25 million, the bulk of which, 58%, is spent on “building works”; 26% on ICT; 9% on general equipment and 7% on vehicles.

A closer look at the revenue figures shows higher than expected amounts for labor costs and ‘overhead’, amounting between them to £1,867,000.

A report notes that the force has a higher number of seconded officers than expected at the start of the exercise and that the police pay allowance of £1,900 per person, an average of 5%, was “significantly higher than scheduled”, which also has an impact on the payment of overtime.

Although the force has received additional funding from the government, the financial report to advisers notes that this is not enough to cover all costs. Civilian staff in Dorset have yet to reach a pay deal, which will likely put additional financial pressure on the revenue budget.

The police and crime panel, which will meet on September 29, will be told that crime levels in the county have remained broadly stable. Figures show a drop in cases of rural crime, anti-social behavior and cases of domestic violence.

While the number of 999 calls answered within 10 seconds is 81%, it takes an average of 16.5 minutes to answer a non-emergency 101 call.

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