Police funding across Yorkshire rises - but its council tax payers who are footing the bill

Total funding for the four Yorkshire forces will rise from 984m in 2018/19to 1051m in 2019/20 - an increase of nearly seven per cent.
Total funding for the four Yorkshire forces will rise from 984m in 2018/19to 1051m in 2019/20 - an increase of nearly seven per cent.
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Police forces across Yorkshire have been given a funding boost this year thanks to council tax payers across the county, the Yorkshire Post can reveal.

Total funding for the four Yorkshire forces will rise from £984m in 2018/19 to £1051m in 2019/20 - an increase of nearly seven per cent.

Nearly a third of the rise (32 per cent) will be paid for by local taxpayers with council tax funding £328.5m of the increase- the rest will be provided by the Government.

The amount raised by the council tax precept has increased by 14 per cent since 2018/19 when it stood at £286.4m.

To fund that, taxpayers in West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and the Humberside Police force area all saw bills increase by the equivalent of £24 per year for a Band D property.

Taxpayers in the North Yorkshire Police force area saw a rise of £23 per year.

Here the Yorkshire Post takes a look at funding for each of the forces and what it means for the public:

West Yorkshire Police

West Yorkshire Police will receive total funding of £446.7m funding for 2019/20 - an increase from the £418.1m the force received in the previous 12 months.

Of the £446.7m, £324.7m will come from the Government and £122m from the precept.

West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Willamson said government funding for the force has "remained largely flat" and that the majority of the "new funding burden" had been "picked up by local council tax payers" through the police precept.

The additional money raised from the precept is to be used to fund an additional 264 police officers and specialist staff.

Mr Burns-Williamson said: "“West Yorkshire has some of the highest levels of deprivation in the country and it’s well known that since 2010 in West Yorkshire we have lost £140m plus from our budget which equates to roughly 2000 police jobs.

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"A specific focus of this year’s budget is around ensuring there is the right support mechanisms in place to deliver the best possible standards of service, in the face of growing demands and bolstering the frontline capability which West Yorkshire Police are doing.

"Aside of these key priorities, I have also set aside additional funding to better support partnership working, providing resources for areas such as domestic abuse and mental health, working with each of the Community Safety Partnerships in the five districts.

"Clearly, government austerity measures extend beyond policing and I recognise the impact that it is also having upon local authorities, education and youth services, not to mention the many other organisations that help to deliver against my police and crime plan.

"Although it was with some reluctance that I had to call upon local taxpayers to achieve it, the budget I set earlier this year caters for the issues of greatest threat to our communities and puts us in a place of more stability for the future against a backdrop of government funding reductions and allocations which barely cover the annual inflation costs and pension shortfalls after years of damaging cuts.”

North Yorkshire Police

North Yorkshire Police will receive total funding of £155.5m funding for 2019/20 - an increase from the £144.8m the force received in the previous 12 months.

Of the £155.5m, £78.5m will come from the Government and £77m from the precept.

North Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan said: "When you take inflation into account the actual amount of government funding has been the equivalent of a flat cash settlement - meaning no more money for frontline policing.

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"In the last two years in particular, I have had to compensate for this by increasing local funding as crime is rising, the frontline is under considerable strain and the public are being extremely clear that they want more police officers in their communities.

"No one likes to increase tax and I’ve weighed up the options very carefully, alongside extensive consultation with the public. I am however optimistic that following commitments by both potential Prime Ministers, government has at last come to the conclusion that this is not a sustainable situation and more central government funding is needed.

"All Police and Crime Commissioners will be watching what unfolds extremely carefully, holding either one of them to account for these promises. However, the good news is that by the end of the financial year, North Yorkshire will have almost returned police numbers to pre-austerity numbers and it is good to see so many new recruits in training and around and about at police HQ."

South Yorkshire Police

South Yorkshire Police will receive total funding of £261.8m funding for 2019/20 - an increase from the £245.8m the force received in the previous 12 months.

Of the £261.8m, £192.7m will come from the Government and £69.1m from the precept.

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner said: "Until this financial year, government grant to South Yorkshire Police has been insufficient to cover the costs of running the service.

"Cuts as well as efficiency savings have had to be made. That has seen the workforce reduce by about 500 officers over ten years. During this time the government repeatedly denied that this would have any effect on crime – and for a while crime continued to go down. However, more recently the cumulative impact of the cuts has been felt and crime has started to rise. In particular, we have seen rises in violent crime."

Dr Billings said the Government has shifted the burden of paying for policing towards the council tax payer.

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He said: "This year I was given ‘flexibility’ by the government to raise the council tax precept by 14 per cent - which I did, as I felt that we had to try to stop the reduction in police numbers.

"The government grant was also a little higher than expected. The combination of the two has enabled us to increase officer numbers for the first time since 2010 – by 68.

"We would like to continue to increase officer numbers, but we can only do this if the police grant is increased by more than inflation. There is no way I can go to council tax payers and ask for any further rises of the size we had this year."

Humberside Police

Humberside Police will receive total funding of £187m funding for 2019/20 - an increase from the £175.3m the force received in the previous 12 months.

Of the £187m, £126.5m will come from the Government and £60.4m from the precept.

Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner Keith Hunter said the comparison in funding statistics for the force over the last five years shows how the "financial burden to provide an adequate and effective police service" has "increasingly passed" from central government to local taxpayers.

Mr Hunter said: “Police and crime and commissioners, together with chief constables and MPs across the country, have lobbied Government hard to improve funding for overstretched police forces.

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"The outcome of the Government’s spending review are still uncertain but we have made a clear case to the Home Office and HM Treasury for all police forces to be adequately funded.

"The reality of the contribution from central Government since 2015 is a significant real terms reduction in funding. The additional funding provided by local taxpayers has not completely filled this hole.

“I have worked with our chief constable to improve our own financial position, we have put hundreds of extra police officers on the streets in the last three years and helped to make our communities safer, but much of this has been achieved by running down financial reserves which had built up over many years.

"To ensure a sustainable position for the future the Government needs to act quickly to improve police funding and not continue to pass the buck to local residents.”