Merseyside's Police Commissioner has joined forces with four other politicians overseeing Britain's biggest police forces urging the Chancellor and Home Secretary to reverse the shortfall in funding for the police service.
Jane Kennedy has united with elected leaders for the Metropolitan police and forces in the West Midlands, Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire to co-sign a joint letter to Philip Hammond MP and Sajid Javid.
Dear Chancellor and Home Secretary,
As Police and Crime Commissioners it is our first responsibility to keep our citizens safe. We were bitterly disappointed that there was no additional money announced for non-counter terrorism policing in last month’s Budget and remain deeply concerned about the continued shortfall in funding facing the police nationally.
There is a clear link between cuts to police resources and the rise in violent crime across the UK. This has been acknowledged by the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, the Home Affairs Select Committee and even official Home Office research.
Policing should be an issue of national taxation but has increasingly been pushed on to local taxation as the Government has refused to increase the police grant. This is unfair and unsustainable because council tax is a regressive form of taxation that disproportionately impacts the least well off and is insufficient to tackle the scale of the problem we face.
However, until the Government increases central grant funding for the police, it is absolutely vital that there is flexibility in the precept so that we can do what we can to provide police forces with at least some of the funding they urgently need.
We have welcomed the recent acknowledgement from the Home Secretary of the scale of the challenge facing police over resources, officer numbers and increased crime where he accepted the consequences of cuts to funding has left officers, in his own words, feeling, "stretched, overburdened, and not sufficiently rewarded".
However, words do not pay for police officers’ salaries. In order to reverse declining officer numbers, and to keep our cities safe, we urge you to:
1. Reverse the overall shortfalls in funding due to the real terms cuts that our police service has undergone since 2010.
2. Compensate forces fully for the additional £417 million police pension costs imposed by the Government from 2019-20 onwards. This alone equates to a 6 per cent increase in Government core grant funding.
3. Provide flexibility in the police precept to be announced this December alongside additional Government funding so that local taxpayers are not unfairly burdened as a result.
These measures would go some way to putting public safety first and help our police forces get a firm grip on the rise in violent crime we have seen across the country. We are collectively determined to do what we can at a local level to support our police forces and have provided additional funding where we have been able. To do that in a structured, sustainable way we need the long-term fiscal support of central Government.
Sadiq Khan Andy Burnham
Mayor of London Mayor of Greater Manchester
David Jamieson Jane Kennedy
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Police and Crime Commissioner for Merseyside
Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire