THE funding settlement for police forces has been confirmed – and is described by the Home Office as a £1.1bn boost to policing.
However, its calculations encompass funding commitments already announced: including £750m to recruit the first wave of the 20,000 new police officers; dedicated money allocated to fight organised crime, child abuse, serious violence, and county lines drug dealing; as well as the £90m to be provided for Counter Terrorism Policing.
Reacting to the funding announcement, PFEW Chair John Apter said: “This is clearly a better financial settlement for policing than we have had in previous years and in real terms equates to a 6.4% increase on last year, which is a good thing.
“The Government has listened and started to invest in policing but once again the buck has been passed to Police and Crime Commissioners and local taxpayers. This is simply unfair, as we now have the public paying twice for the same service. It’s creating a two-tier system, where wealthier communities have more money available for local policing than others.”
PFEW has previously warned about the unsustainability of the antiquated police funding system, which it says fails to reflect policing in the 21st century as officers are facing crimes that are more demanding and more complex.
Mr Apter continued: “Boom-and-bust, short-term, one-year financial settlements do not work, and forces shouldn’t have to operate on a ‘hand-to-mouth’ basis. The Government has admitted the funding formula is outdated and must urgently address this.
“Over the last decade the police service has been hit hard by budget cuts and it needs more than a one-year cash injection to put things right. So, this increase is welcome, but it must be the start of long-term, genuine investment in policing.”
Government figures show that forces in England and Wales will be given almost £13.1bn in 2020/21 – up by £914.7m on the previous year.
PCCs have also been given flexibility to increase local funding in England by setting the council tax referendum limit to £10 for a Band D property.
The claim by the Home Office is that “if all PCCs in England maximise this flexibility and ask average households to contribute less than 20 pence per week, this would generate around £248m in additional funding for forces in England next year”.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “The police must now make full use of this significant investment to deliver for the public.”
National Police Chiefs’ Council Chair Martin Hewitt said the settlement was positive overall.
He said: “The £750m allocated provides the flexibility to recruit 6,000 additional officers by March 2021, as well as invest in staff recruitment, equipment and training to support these new recruits in their roles.”
But he added: “We look forward to working with the Home Office and police and crime commissioners on future sustainable funding as part of the next Government spending review.”