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West Midlands Police to face a further £23m cut in Home Office funding

West Midlands Police to face a further £23m cut in Home Office funding

🕔18.Dec 2013

Attempts to obtain a fairer Government funding settlement for West Midlands Police have fallen on deaf ears, with the force set to face a further £23 million cut in its Home Office grant.

The reduction is £4 million more than expected, according to Police and Crime Commissioner Bob Jones.

Mr Jones was reacting to the provisional 2014-15 funding settlement announced to MPs today by the Minister of State at the Home Office, Damien Green.

The latest cut means that the West Midlands force will have seen its budget reduced by about £150 million since the Chancellor’s austerity measures began. During the five year period 2010-2015, some 2,700 jobs will have disappeared including 1,100 police officers.

Mr Jones spent most of the past year lobbying MPs to put the case for a fairer funding settlement. He claims the West Midlands is losing out to smaller rural forces as a result of a ‘damping’ process which caps grant.

Mr Jones said: “Today’s police funding announcement is bad news for West Midlands Police.  The government has imposed more cuts than expected, and we have been hit harder than other forces.

“We were expecting a cut of £19 million in 2014-15, and today’s announcement means another £4 million has been additionally taken, making a total cut of £23 million.

“The additional cut has come from top slicing the police grant and the way the government’s use of funding “damping” means we don’t get our fair share of national funding, and instead subsidise other forces.

“We now get over £44 million less a year than the national police funding formula says we need.  West Midlands Police faces the worst funding position in the country by a large margin.

“As a result, relatively low crime areas see their community safety funding topped up while the West Midlands suffers”

“The additional top slicing of police funding adds insult to injury and causes deep concern.”

Mr Jones hit out at the Home Office decision to impose a charge on forces to fund a direct entry scheme for Superintendents, enabling managers from other professions to enter the police at a senior rank.

He said: “All forces are being made to pay for the direct entry superintendents’ scheme when only two forces have expressed an interest in recruiting senior officers this way.  Thus an overwhelming number of forces are being made to pay for an expensive and unnecessary scheme that will be used by a minority.”

Mr Jones continued: “I remain opposed to cutting police budgets to spend more on the Independent Police Complaints Commission.  This is throwing good money after bad, when instead there needs to be a new organisation that has the credibility to investigate serious complaints against the police.

“Finally, I am very concerned by what appears to be a very strange plan to nearly double HM Inspectorate of Constabulary’s inspection budget.  If this is as it seems, it is very odd to be taking money from the direct provision of policing to pay for more inspections and make HMIC more expensive instead, particularly when not only did the government promise to make inspection leaner and reduce bureaucracy, but also reduced the responsibilities of HMIC.

“I am incredulous that this is what the Home Secretary calls ‘protecting’ the police budget.”

Mr Green told MPs: “We recognise that the funding settlement remains challenging. However as HMIC have identified, there are areas where the police can continue to make further savings without affecting the level of service to the public, for example through greater collaboration across operational and support services, through improved procurement of goods and services, and by improving productivity. The Home Secretary and I are confident that Police and Crime Commissioners will continue to deliver these efficiencies.”

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