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Home Office announces big Police funding increase

08 January 2018

THE GOVERNMENT has announced a substantial £450 million increase in police funding across England and Wales.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said the increase in police funding across England and Wales forms part of a comprehensive settlement for forces and counter terrorism policing.

The settlement follows a period of engagement, with minister for policing and fire Nick Hurd speaking to every force in the country about the demands they face, which concluded that with more victims of serious, hidden crimes such as domestic abuse, modern slavery and child sexual exploitation coming forward, this has placed greater demand on policing.

To help meet the needs of each area, government is protecting its grant to forces in cash terms and empowering locally elected police and crime commissioners to raise precept contributions by up to £1 a month for a typical household. Together, this will mean force budgets will increase by up to £270 million nationally.

Counter terrorism police funding will also increase by around £50 million to £757 million, a rise of 7%. This is in recognition of the changing threat from terrorism and to ensure counter terrorism policing has the resources needed to respond and keep the public safe.

At a national level, £130 million extra will be provided for priorities such as special grants to help forces meet unexpected costs, for example, the £9.8 million given to Greater Manchester Police after the Manchester Arena attack, and national technology programmes designed to deliver greater productivity and mobile working.

Police forces will also be able to access the £175 million police transformation fund. Led by the police themselves, the fund gives individual forces money to invest in reform and digitisation projects to benefit the whole policing system.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said: “Whether it is your local forces, the national picture or counter terrorism capabilities, this is a strong settlement that ensures forces have the resources they need to keep us safe.

“Taxpayers will invest more money in forces because the work our officers do to protect us is absolutely vital, and we recognise demand is changing.

“However, my message to police forces is that this increased investment must mean we raise the pace of reform. For too long embracing digital and increasing productivity have been tomorrow’s policing problems – now they are today’s necessities. The government is committed to meeting this challenge and we want policing to do the same.

Minister for policing and the fire Nick Hurd added: “Public safety is our number one priority and we have responded swiftly to evidence of a shift in demand on forces.

“This new comprehensive settlement will mean local forces can be more effective in their critical work to fight crime and protect the public.

“I have seen for myself the exceptional, can-do attitude of police officers and staff around the country. The government remains very committed to helping police improve efficiency by investing in the technology and skills that modern policing will need to be fit for the future.

The Home Office also confirmed that it agrees with the findings of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and the Fire Service, who last month said forces can be more ambitious in driving efficiency.

The Home Office, working with the police, has also identified around £100 million of potential savings to be made through smarter procurement of everything from cars to uniforms.

If all forces delivered the level of productivity from mobile working as the best forces, the average officer could spend an hour a day extra on the frontline - this has the potential to free up the equivalent of 11,000 extra officers across England and Wales.

In addition, plans are also in place to increase transparency around police reserves, which range from 7% to 42% of forces’ annual funding. In March 2017 police forces held usable reserves of over £1.6 billion, which compares to £1.4 billion in 2011. The Home Office intends to publish data on all PCCs’ reserves and introduce guidance to require PCCs to publish clearer information in a bid to make force funding more comparable for the public.

To help forces plan their finances more effectively for the future and in response to the view of PCCs and Chief Constables, the Home Office has signalled its intention to repeat the same settlement for 2019 to 2020 provided there is substantial progress from policing in delivering productivity and efficiency improvements.

You can read the provisional police grant report for 2018 to 2019 which sets out the amount of grants proposed for the police in England and Wales.