Chairman of Hampshire Police Federation reacts to announcement on Police
Government has passed the buck on police funding
Chairman of Hampshire Police Federation has reacted to the announcement that Government has increased police funding.
"The current funding formula for local police forces is split into two main areas. The main grant comes from Government with the smaller local element coming from council tax. The council tax part is set by the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) and has been capped meaning even if they wanted to increase by more than 1.99% they would have to go to a referendum.
"The national funding formula is grossly unfair for Hampshire Constabulary. This year alone we are almost £50m underfunded because of a formula which is unfair. Over recent years the Chief Constable, PCC and myself have lobbied hard for the formula to change. Frustratingly this has not happened and any future changes do not look hopeful.
"This week's announcement from Government on police funding has been reported as, 'Extra £450m funding' for police in England and Wales'. On the face of it this appears good news but as we have come to expect this is smoke and mirrors. The bulk of the increase in funding will now come from local council tax increases. The cap imposed on local PCC's has been relaxed meaning they can now increase the local council tax precept by over 5%. For Hampshire this could give us almost an extra £10m in funding.
"The Government are responsible for the safety and security of the public, they should ensure that policing is properly and fairly funded but in this case they have not. They have simply passed the buck to local PCC's and asked the public to pay more in their local council tax for something which should be funded centrally.
"The cuts made to Hampshire Constabulary are eye watering. We have had £80m cut from our budget which means we have almost 1000 fewer officers to deal with an ever increasing demand. The Chief Constable has recently announced a further £10m cut for 2018 which will see our Roads Policing capability slashed, our Public Order team disbanded as well as other areas affected. This will not keep our public safer.
"If the only way we policing across Hampshire and the IOW can be thrown a financial lifeline is by an increase in the council tax then through gritted teeth I have to support the PCC in increasing this by the maximum of £12 a year. This won't undo the damage already done but will sustain us going forward. It won't put 100's more officers on the street but it may protect those we have. The Government have put PCC's in the crosshairs of the publics anger and that is playing politics with policing which sadly has become the norm in recent years."