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Kent Police discover extra £1million of funding that went unspent due to technical glitch

PUBLISHED: 15:40 26 July 2018 | UPDATED: 15:40 26 July 2018

Picture: PA/Joe Giddens

Picture: PA/Joe Giddens

PA/Press Association Images

Kent Police have discovered an extra £1m at their disposal after a glitch was found in their financial system.

During a routine audit of the force’s finances a member of staff uncovered a mistake which meant less money was spent than reported over several years.

The error was revealed by PCC Matthew Scott in his annual report “in the interests of transparency”.

At the Kent and Medway police and crime panel (July 20), Maidstone borough councillor Fay Gooch said: “What worried me about is that even £300 is important because this money goes to organisations such as a coffee shop for community use to prevent crime.

“This is money that is happening on the ground that’s making things happen yet here you [the PCC] are going ‘Oh whoops, I’ve just lost a £1m’.

“Is it a case of someone putting the dot in the wrong place? This really struck me.”

The Kent PCC told the county council chamber in Maidstone the money was found during the auditting process in an ‘unqualified opinion’ report.

In an unqualified report auditors conclude that financial statements are transparent and thorough with no hidden facts.

Mr Scott said: “The reason why it is in the paper is because I think it has to be for the purpose of transparency.

“Because it was an unqualified opinion I didn’t have to and I could have just said there are the accounts.

“I wanted to highlight this as an example where I’m holding the force to account.

“We didn’t lose £1m in cash, it was always there it was just the accounts that were there that needed to show it through properly for the purpose of transparency that it was an error we had spotted.

“Sometimes these things do happen and I don’t think agencies should hide behind unqualified opinions of saying ‘everything’s fantastic’.”

Chief finance officer at the OPCC, Rob Phillips, explained how the financial systems were at times recording expenses more than once which led to an additional £1m on the bill.

This money will increase the amount of reserves on the forces’ financial records.

Mr Phillips is set to commission an independent review of the figures to provide assurance there are no further issues.

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