The Police and Crime Commissioner, Michael Lane, and Chief Constable for Hampshire Constabulary, Olivia Pinkney, have issued a stark warning to Brandon Lewis MP, Minister for Policing that additional national funding is required to keep the public safe in the Hampshire Constabulary Policing Area in the future.
Hampshire Constabulary currently receives £44.8 million less than the average police force each year. This inequality is the result of the national funding formula that is used to work out how much each force receives in government grant.
Government grant makes up the majority of Hampshire Constabulary’s funding (64%) with the rest coming from the local council tax precept. To sustain services in 2017-18 the Commissioner is consulting residents about a £5 increase in the council tax precept. However, even with this, and future projected increases in council tax, it is estimated that if government funding continues to be worked out in the same way the force will be facing a funding shortfall of £23 million a year by 2021.
To help offset national funding reductions, Hampshire Constabulary has already made £80 million of efficiencies since 2010. This has been achieved through modernising the way it operates, sharing buildings and back office functions with local authorities and Hampshire Fire and Rescue, and collaborating with Thames Valley Police. A further £10 million of efficiencies have been identified that would reduce the funding shortfall to £13m.
Michael Lane said: “Local people and Hampshire Constabulary are continuing to play their part. However, since 64% of my policing budget comes from central government, via a national formula, the best local efforts are not enough.
“That’s why we have written to the policing Minister to explain the current situation, and to underline the urgent need to see through his very welcome commitment to end the £44.8m of inequality that threatens police services for the people of Hampshire, Portsmouth, Southampton and the Isle of Wight.”
Chief Constable, Olivia Pinkney said: “This is a good force with a proud track record and officers who care deeply about the public they serve.
“As chief constable I have a duty to highlight any risk to policing services well in advance. Our analysis makes very clear that without fair national funding risk to services will in future reach unacceptable levels.”