Emergency services to decide on cost cutting plan

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cost-cutting plans for Central Scotland’s emergency services are due to be unveiled.

The Joint Police Board and its fire and rescue equivalent meet at Falkirk’s Municipal Buildings tomorrow (Friday) when members will hear where the two chiefs propose making savings.

A reduction in public sector funding has left both the chief constable and the chief fire officer with less cash to spend in 2011/2012.

However, the three local authorities – Falkirk, Stirling and Clackmannanshire – have given an agreement to the Scottish Government that they will increase police officer numbers in Central Scotland to 868.

Chief Constable Kevin Smith will table a net revenue budget of £25.451 million which will incorporate £1 million of savings in police staff posts and £700,000 in non-staff costs. However, in his report to the board he will highlight the problem of not wanting to take officers from frontline duties to fill roles currently held by civilians.

Mr Smith said it was a “significant retrograde step and every effort should be made to avoid it”.

Falkirk Council’s share of the £25.451 million requisition from the local authorities is proposed as £13.158 million. Board members will hear that Central Scotland Fire and Rescue chief Kenny Taylor proposes saving £1.986 million in employee costs, including £360,000 through staffing cuts and £120,000 by reducing overtime.

His report also highlights a £20,000 cut in headquarters and station cleaning, as well as a saving of £40,000 in non-essential expenditure, such as seminar attendance, and £20,000 by sharing human resource functions with Fife and Tayside.

Falkirk’s share of the £14.934 million net revenue budget is £7.811 million, representing a decrease of 11.3 per cent on the current year.