Merseyside's Police Commissioner has today responded to an announcement by the Home Office outlining policing funding for 2018/19.
The statement, made by Policing Minister Nick Hurd MP, confirmed Merseyside Police will receive no change to its grant funding from central Government, which will be exactly the same in 2018/19 as in 2017/18.
Flexibility has instead been given to Police and Crime Commissioners to increase funding from local taxpayers through the policing precept portion of Council Tax by up to £12 per annum (based on a Band D property).
Following initial analysis of the announcement, Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy said: “In 2015, the Chancellor promised to ‘protect our police because they protect us’.
“The Government misled us and the police service then. Yesterday Nick Hurd once again used spin to mask a disappointing settlement that fails to provide our police with the resources they need to keep our communities safe.
“Merseyside Police will not receive a single extra penny in grant from the government. Freezing the grant issued by central government at the 2017/18 rate is in reality a real terms cut, as it fails to take into account pay and the inflationary pressures the Force faces.
“Instead of providing the new money that the police needs and that Police Chiefs across the country have called for, the policing minister had sidestepped his responsibility and is expecting local people to pay more.
“It is a move which comes from a government who know the price of everything and the value of nothing.
“Whilst I cautiously welcome the opportunity to raise resources that are desperately needed for Merseyside Police, lifting the cap on the policing precept is simply shifting the burden of paying for the police service from those who earn the most on to the shoulders of those who earn the least.
“My concern is that I am being forced down a route of asking local council taxpayers, who are already heavily burdened, to pay more towards the policing of Merseyside. This is a step which I am reluctant to take and I will consult with local people to seek their views. However, if we don’t take this opportunity to raise the precept then Merseyside Police will be penalised and our communities will be adversely affected.
“Crime is rising, it is also becoming increasingly complex. With demand growing, calls for help continuing to increase and new crimes emerging, the service is now under more pressure than ever before.
“Any additional funding we can raise from the precept will not replace the 1,000 officers we have lost over the last seven years. However, it will mean that we will have 64 officers more by March 2019 than otherwise.
“The sad truth is that, despite his assurances, the policing minister has failed to listen once again. His statement is yet further proof of this government’s willingness to benefit the leafy Home Counties at the expense of poorer urban areas.”
The Home Office media release on the Police Funding Settlement can be found here.
See the full written statement from the Policing Minister