Avon and Somerset’s Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens says she is "encouraged" by new proposals on the formula the government uses to allocate funding towards police forces.
Sue Mountstevens says she is pleased with revisions to the formula, following the recent Home Office consultation over the way it divides funding towards police forces in England and Wales.
The Commissioner has long campaigned for a fairer funding deal from central government for Avon and Somerset, with the current formula for dividing money between police forces being outdated, unfair and not fit for purpose.
She said she is glad that a number of elements from the Avon and Somerset submission to the consultation appear to have been included in the proposals by the Policing Minister Mike Penning MP, and thanked the areas local MP’s for their support in raising the issue with the Home Office.
Sue Mountstevens said: "I’m encouraged by the revised proposals from the Government, while the consultation remains ongoing this potentially looks like Avon and Somerset will receive the same relative share of police funding it does currently. Before the revisions to the proposed formula, we stood to lose tens of millions of funding on top of the Comprehensive Spending Review reductions in November. I’m grateful to our local MP’s for listening to our arguments and responding to the Home Office consultation.
“While the revised formula is much improved, my office will make a final response to the Home Office to ensure the population of a police force area is given greater consideration, as population gives one of the best indications for both crime and non-crime volume and demand.
“Whatever the eventual outcome of the funding formula, we still face a very significant financial challenge from the comprehensive spending review in November. Even at the “low” end of the reduction scenarios of 20-25% we are facing an annual deficit growing to £25-30 million by 2019/20.
“With cost pressures from pay, increments and national insurance changes we could be forced to lose hundreds of police officers and staff over the next four years. The challenge of the comprehensive spending review will force a radical rethink about the delivery of police services.
“Avon and Somerset will continue to be innovative and seek to collaborate with other police forces and partners to maintain services but ultimately the workforce will be smaller going forward.”
The Home Office consultation on the revised funding formula closes on October 30, the Comprehensive Spending Review announcement is expected at the end of November.
Posted on Wednesday 14th October 2015