'Government's biggest cash boost for police in decade will not reverse damage caused by years of cuts'

Funding for police forces will increase by more than 1.1 billion in 2020/2021, of which 8,702 million will come from Government grants, the Home Office said.
Funding for police forces will increase by more than 1.1 billion in 2020/2021, of which 8,702 million will come from Government grants, the Home Office said.
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The Government’s promised biggest cash boost for police “in a decade” will not reverse the damage years of cuts have caused to force’s across the country, the Shadow Policing Minister has said.

Funding for police forces will increase by more than £1.1 billion in 2020/2021, of which £8,702 million will come from Government grants, the Home Office said.

The total amount of funding available for the year could reach £15.2 billion - if police and crime commissioners ask council tax payers again to stump up extra cash to pay for services.

According to the announcement, the money includes £700 million to recruit 6,000 officers - the first phase of the 20,000 pledged over the next three year; £150 million made available to fight organised crime and online child abuse and £39 million allocated to tackling serious violence

But Labour’s Shadow Policing Minister Louise Haigh MP said on current plans many forces will still be left with fewer officers than in 2010, despite an ever growing population.

“Even with extra cash, the damage of the last decade will not be reversed,” she said.

“The settlement also appears to contain a staggering £264m pensions shortfall which will undermine efforts to cover costs.

“If the Spending Review fails to meet the £417m pensions deficit in full, forces will struggle to meet the government’s claimed recruitment goals.”

Yorkshire’s four police forces will receive £1.1 billion funding in total for the coming financial year.

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The Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police said he is considering the implications of the national settlement and what it means for operational policing.

The force is expected to receive a total funding of £484,741,275 in the coming financial year - an increase of £38 million on the previous year.

Chief Constable John Robins said: “Whilst we clearly welcome the funding for the first instalment of an extra 20,000 police officers nationally over three years, there are still some significant and difficult financial challenges facing West Yorkshire Police over the coming years.

“For example, there is no direct funding in this settlement for last September’s pay award of 2.5 per cent for our officers, nor for any pay awards for staff this year or for any other inflationary cost increases. This operationally leaves us in the position where we still have to find savings in a budget that has already been reduced by many millions of pounds over the last ten years.

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“Similarly, when we are already short of capital funding, it is difficult to understand the announced 75 per cent cut to our capital grant. This is unusual, especially at a time when we are trying to operationally invest in new IT and buildings to make the organisation fit for future challenges and the growth in demand.”

The Police and Crime Commissioner of Humberside - which is to receive nearly £202 million - Keith Hunter said he welcomed the “implicit acceptance” by the Government that police has been “seriously underfunded for a decade”, but said he is not willing to deliver an above inflation rise in Council Tax.

“Some people in this area are struggling and should not have to face another above inflation hike in their local tax for policing,” he said.

"Any money above a rise for inflation that the Government will provide for the Humberside police area will be paid in arrears only for additional officers recruited. That is fine but does not address the current hole in the budget created by successive years of Government cuts.

"This is a welcome but small step by the Government in repairing the damage they have done to the safety of our communities.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel said the announcement showed the Government was "delivering on the people's priorities" and would mean "more officers tackling the crime blighting our streets, so people can feel safe in their communities", adding: "The police must now make full use of this significant investment to deliver for the public."

Martin Hewitt, chairman of the National Police Chiefs' Council, said it was a "positive settlement for policing overall.