Police bear brunt of Home Office cuts

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Indy Politics

Police will bear the brunt of £367 million in Home Office cuts proposed by the coalition Government today.

Chancellor George Osbourne said police forces must save £135 million in a massive efficiency drive.

Senior police officers will point out that 80% of their costs goes on wages, which remain fixed for uniformed officers under a three-year deal.

They are already looking for £500 million of cuts, with a squeeze on recruitment, overtime and consultants as well as collaborative savings.

The remaining savings will come from discretionary spending such as marketing, consultancy and estate costs (£74 million), quangos (£82 million) and "lower value spending" such as supplies and catering (£42 million).

A further £34 million will be generated by recovering more money and assets from criminals, something the Government has struggled to do in the past, and increasing fees for visas.

The National Police Improvement Agency (NPIA), widely singled out as a candidate for the Government's "bonfire of the quangos", escapes the axe but loses a fifth of its budget.

The Home Office announced it will lose a further £30 million today after bosses already agreed to slim down their £470 million budget by £73 million during this financial year.

The NPIA, which is responsible for the national DNA database, the police national computer and the police digital radio system, has already announced it will save £3 for every £1 invested in it.

The Serious Organised Crime Agency faces losing £10 million from its £400 million budget as it prepares to be merged with the UK Border Agency into some kind of "border force".

Across Whitehall, the Ministry of Justice has identified £325 million in savings as it remains under pressure to demonstrate how offenders are made to pay for their crimes.

A spokesman said this will be delivered by reviewing large-scale computer projects and ditching ones that are not seen as essential.

Quangos, dubbed "arms-length bodies" by civil servants, will lose cash and recruitment will be tightened beyond the across-the-board freeze.

Spending on consultants, travel and events will be slashed and even postage will not escape the knife.