On Tuesday 19 December the Minister of State the Right Honourable Nick Hurd made his statement on police funding in the House of Commons.
The announcement has promised that next year the same amount of funds will be made available to the people that I serve for their policing safety as last year, and that makes a difference, it adds some money back into the budget. I welcome the government’s announcement, I welcome the recognition of the challenges and pressures and will continue to press for innovation and change for the future that enables the outcomes my communities seek that of being safer.
I’ve lobbied hard on behalf of the residents of Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Portsmouth, and Southampton for fairer and sufficient funding for our policing and for those aspects of my work beyond policing as the Police and Crime Commissioner, and this shows that the voice of local residents, the voice of professionals engaged in keeping us safer, is heard in government.
In addition to the flat cash grant the Minister also announced that the cap on the amount Police and Crime Commissioners can ask their local residents to contribute to the cost of policing (through the council tax) would be relaxed.
I’m delighted that the Minister has recognised the need for flexibility in the precept local tax setting powers that a Police and Crime Commissioner should have. This has given me the option of increasing the amount paid for policing by £1 pound a month (£12 pounds a year) for an average household, if that is something that I would wish to exercise on your behalf and you would wish me to. This level of increase would help to maintain and restore policing in certain areas to the levels that you are asking for and the levels that we need to maintain – as I’m advised professionally by the Chief Constable – to keep us all safer from the greatest threats and risks of harm.
These are short-term measures but they do deal with options for the next couple of years. In the longer term, I plan to continue to fight for a nationally fairer funding formula. I know that there are pressures on government, but I continue to believe that this is the most appropriate way for the long term future.
Today is good news. It is progress, is not the end of the journey.
It is a welcome recognition of the pressures on policing and police related demand. It’s a welcome number of easements to enable me to look to set a budget for the next three years that will keep us safer, that will sustain work into the future, looking to be innovative and changing to defeat those who wish us harm; looking to deliver a policing service that is modern, operationally effective and continuing to develop for the future to meet the needs and demands to keep us all safer.