Looking at financial sustainability of police forces
Since 2010 Lancashire has had to make over £84m of savings as a direct result of the government cutting £50m of central funding during the same period, losing 800 officer posts and 350 members of policing support staff. This is happening across the country, and the Home Office has not even forecast how this will affect policing.
The value for money report, which looked at financial sustainability of police forces in England and Wales 2018, found that direct funding for police forces reduced by 30% in real terms since 2010/2011.
The report calls the approach to police funding “ineffective and detached from the changing nature of policing” and concludes that “the Home Office’s light touch approach to overseeing police forces means it does not know if the police system is financially sustainable.”
Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw said: “It is clear from this report what I have been saying for some time – that current funding for policing isn’t sufficient to deal with growing demand and the existing funding formula is not fit for purpose.
“The current funding arrangements lead to unfairness with counties like Lancashire losing out.
“In their most recent funding settlement, the Government expected Police and Crime Commissioners to raise the policing precept on council tax by up to £12 per year for a Band D property. Instead of giving forces more money themselves, the government passed the burden onto local residents – but this still does not nearly go far enough to ease the financial burdens the Constabulary is under and, as a result, we expect the Constabulary to still require £18m of further savings by 2022.
“Last month I met with Nick Hurd MP, Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Service to outline the impact a lack of government funding was having on policing in Lancashire, at a time when the Constabulary is managing not just an increase in crime, but also non-crime demand including mental health and social care.
“The report finds the government just do not understand the impact of their own cuts to police funding. Sustained funding cuts to Lancashire Constabulary have meant every area of policing feeling the strain, and we need a new deal which ensures fairer funding for forces across the country.”
The National Audit Office report: