Give us our bobbies back
With the breakdown of funding still not announced, the first 6,000 new officers will see a maximum of 153 additional officers in Lancashire. If the same allocation approach is made in the next two years, this would mean the county would get back hundreds of officers less than the 754 that have been lost.
The unfairness of this way of investing into policing is highlighted by the fact that Surrey, who have only lost 8 officers since 2010, will be 70 officers better off by 2021 than a decade ago after this first announcement and stand to gain 250 police officers by 2023 if calculations remain based on core grant allocation.
Whilst the Government has indicated that associated costs, such as training and equipment, will be covered, there is no clarity on additional costs around estate, HR, vetting and other factors. Furthermore the Constabulary will still have to meet the added cost pressures from the fully deserved, yet unfunded pay award for the existing workforce at a cost of over £6m. This is alongside inflation and the government changes to police pensions which is also leaving the force out of pocket and without proper funding, there remains a big gap in the budget – leading to concerns that cost pressures could be passed onto Council Tax payers which the Commissioner has repeatedly highlighted as grossly unfair.
Reacting to the announcement, Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Clive Grunshaw said:
“I had asked the Home Office to match our ambition in Lancashire and to replace the 750 officers lost since 2010 and I’m disappointed with today’s announcement which falls well short of this ambition and fails to recognise the reason that additional officers are needed – the years of funding reductions from Westminster which have impacted Lancashire more than most.
“We requested 340 officers in this allocation to allow us to properly invest back into the policing in Lancashire, making a strong case around the fairest way to allocate funding by putting officers back where they have been lost and are needed most.
“However forces like Lancashire have been snubbed by the Government whilst more affluent areas such as Surrey, who have lost only 8 officers since 2010 due to their ability to raise almost double what we have through the council tax precept, have been gifted 70 officers in this first allocation – more than when austerity in policing began.
“Whilst I welcome the ability to put much needed additional officers back onto our streets, after almost a decade of cuts which meant we have needed to save over £84m, and the impact this had on the service that we can deliver, this announcement does not go far enough to repair the damage that has been done to our policing service. There are also suggestions that the remaining share of the 20,000 police officers beyond March 2021 could be shared between Counter Terrorism and Serious and Organised crime meaning even less for Lancashire.
“Together with MPs, I will continue standing up for Lancashire and demand that the government give us our Bobbies back. I’m also calling for a fair and sustainable funding settlement from central government that takes into account the unique circumstances faced by policing here in Lancashire.”
See below to Home Office funding announcement. Lancashire has a target recruitment of 153 additional police officers by 2021 on top of planned recruitment to address vacancies/ attrition over that period. The officer numbers appear to have been allocated based on share of core grant formula. If the 20,000 are allocated that way then Lancashire will be 245 short of the 750 – notwithstanding any that may go to CT or SOC.