Police forces in line for below-inflation funding increase

Police in England and Wales are in line for a below-inflation increase in funding next year, according to proposals set out by the Government.

Dec 14, 2022
By PA Media

Under the provisional settlement, the Home Office said forces will receive an additional £287 million in cash terms from central government in 2023/24.

It will take overall spending to £17.2 billion – a 3.6 per cent cash increase on the current year, well below the rate of inflation, which remains above ten per cent although it is forecast to fall.

The figure assumes police and crime commissioners (PCCs) in England will take full advantage of their ability to raise the council tax precept to £15, bringing in £349 million.

The Home Office said the settlement would enable it to maintain the 20,000 additional officers the Government has promised.

It provides £1.1 billion towards national policing priorities, including serious violence, County Lines and cybe crime while funding for counter-terrorism policing will total over £1 billion.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman said: “Our police make sacrifices every day to protect the British people, and I am steadfast in my admiration for our hardworking, brave and dedicated officers.

“It is vital that we continue to invest in the priorities that matter most to our communities, and we must do more to cut crime and restore confidence in our police.

“With over 15,000 additional officers already recruited and thousands more on the way, this package will support our forces to get the basics right and keep communities safe across country.”

The National Police Chiefs’ Council deputy lead for finance, Chief Constable Paul Sandford, said the settlement means forces face “difficult decisions” in the year ahead.

Mr Sandford, said: “We welcome the investment that policing has received over the past several years and the funding announced in today’s provisional police grant, which comes at a challenging time for public finances.

“The additional money going to policing is positive, however, due to inflationary pressures there will still be difficult decisions over service delivery, meaning further pressure on already stretched police forces.

“The level of demand on policing remains high, with a substantial amount of non-crime demand, such as health and social work, that police are required to step into due to an absence of other service provision. We are also taking too many people away from frontline policing to deal with bureaucracy, with an estimated 1,200 officers and staff last year involved in ensuring compliance with crime recording requirements, at a cost of around £47 million annually.

“Policing continues to work to deliver efficiency savings and productivity gains through collaboration, new technology, and maximising the benefits of the new officers through the Uplift programme wherever possible.

“However, we must continue to work closely with our criminal justice, government, and other partners to look at what can be done by each of us to ensure that the public receive the level of service they deserve.

“We recognise that inflation is having a substantial impact on everyone in policing, and we will be working closely with our policing partners ahead of our upcoming submission to the Police Remuneration Review Body.”

Paul Fotheringham, president of the Police Superintendents’ Association, said: “Whilst this is being referred to as a funding boost, the reality is that it will equate to a real-terms funding cut when viewed alongside inflation.

A combined increase of up to £810 million (£287 million direct to the service and up to £523 million via PCCs) equates to a 4.7 per cent increase against a current UK inflation rate of almost 11 per cent.“The result is that we will see already-stretched forces having to address the widening budget gaps they face, which will have inevitable impacts on staffing and service delivery.“Demand is up, we’re continuing to pick up the pieces where other services withdraw, we’re likely to be called to fill in for striking public sector workers, and we’re managing the largest recruitment drive in a generation. It can’t therefore be right to see funding continue to drop in real terms.

“Our view is that the police funding strategy needs to be urgently addressed to respond to this major gap in funding vs inflation and demand, and to deal with the impact that a continued real-terms pay cut is having on our staff.“Our people are at the heart of this crisis and whilst they’re managing cuts to service funding, they’re also working in a year which has seen yet another real-terms pay cut for police officers.  These are people with no legal right to strike, and who have no wish to strike, yet also have no procedural justice when it comes to pay. The impact of this, alongside rising demand means that wellbeing and morale is at its lowest – something that data from our association and a number of other policing organisations shows.

“Our people must be fairly and appropriately rewarded for their efforts, not only when they join the service, but throughout their dedicated years of policing.”

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