DORSET'S Police and Crime Commissioner has admitted that running down cash reserves is 'sailing close to the wind,' and a cause of worry for him.

He told the annual finance meeting of the county's police and crime panel on Thursday that the £4.3million in the fund was considered to be adequate – but only just.

“We do plan to improve that figure to £5.4million,” he said, “But I am worried that we are going down as low as we can...we really are sailing close to the wind.”

He said that any unexpected additional costs, such as a police pay award above 2 per cent in the coming year would add to the pressure on the fund.

During the meeting he was critical of the Government for approving changes to pensions and police pay which had added £2.1 million to the budget.

Mr Underhill said that the pension changes alone accounted for additional spending of £3.1million a year although a one-off grant from the Government had reduced this to an additional £1.7million.

He said changes were being discussed to police funding for the coming year but he had no guarantee they would be positive for Dorset Police.

The panel heard that the office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, which has a separate staff from the force, had a stand-still budget for the year ahead with any pay awards or other increased costs having to be met from future savings.

He said the staff were already looking at making more items available online to reduce printing costs and were reviewing professional fees they paid.