THE FIGHT against crime amid unprecedented cuts has been eased by changes in government funding, says the police commissioner.
It was initially feared 2,500 more police jobs were set to be axed over five years under a predicted £130million of government funding cuts to the West Midlands force.
A lesser cut by the government is now expected following a campaign for ‘fairer funding’ for the West Midlands.
The new Home Office formula is now estimated to see the proportion of funding the force received increased from 6.11 per cent to 6.63 per cent of the total funding to all forces in England and Wales.
It would still mean funding cuts of approximately £93million to the West Midlands force – though it remains to be seen if the change will reduce the anticipated 2,500 police job losses.
However, the anticipated extra £36.9million above the force’s previous predictions could change, once the final figures are announced following chancellor George Osborne’s spending review.
The force’s budget currently stands at £500million.
David Jamieson, West Midlands police and crime commissioner, said the decision was ‘a victory for common sense’ and he would continue to press the government to make sure the changes were delivered in full.
Mr Jamieson said: “The West Midlands Police has faced double the cuts of other forces other the last five years.
“I’m determined to make sure that we are not disproportionately hit again.
“I won’t be satisfied until we have actually received the money and will keep pressing until it is actually delivered.”
Mr Jamieson added he believed the Government needed to consider how much money police forces required to keep people safe rather than see administer arbitrary cuts.
He added: “West Midlands Police has the second lowest council tax take in the country which means we are more reliant on government funding.
“The government needs to look at this area and the lack of flexibility of it in future.
“There are still outstanding issues with the formula and we look forward to working with the government to improve it in the future.”
Solihull MP Julian Knight added he was pleased the Government were able to provide more financial support for West Midlands Police.
“Our police do a great job, and it is due to their hard work that crime continues to fall, despite having to make savings,” he said.
“I have been campaigning on this issue for months making representations to the police minister, through private meetings and letters – responding to the consultation – and speaking at the special parliamentary debate in September.
“I left no stone unturned to get a deal for Solihull’s police.”
Mr Knight said it was heartening the Government had listened to his representations regarding the current resources and have been able, due to good governance, provide this extra funding.