AN ESTIMATED £9.5 million boost to West Midlands Police funding has been announced by the government – but amounts to a ‘real terms cut’, the police commissioner says.
Home secretary, Amber Rudd, declared yesterday (December 19) a £450 million increase in police funding across England and Wales.
Dame Caroline Spelman, Conservative MP for Meriden, praised the announcement and claimed this could represent an increase for the West Midlands police of up to £9.5 million in 2018/19.
The settlement follows a period of engagement, with minister for policing and fire, Nick Hurd, speaking to every force in the country about the demands they face.
The government says that with more victims of serious, hidden crimes such as domestic abuse, modern slavery and child sexual exploitation coming forward, this has placed greater demand on policing.
But the increase in police force allocation has been condemned by forces in the West Midlands as an illusion hiding real terms cuts.
The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson’s, (PCC) office calculated that in 2017/18 West Midlands Police received £444.1 million.
In 2018/19 the force is due to receive the same figure which represents a real terms cut in government funding once inflation is taken into account, it added.
Following initial analysis, Mr Jamieson said: “Despite warm words over the last few months, this is once again a disappointing settlement that falls a long way short of what police forces require.
“West Midlands Police or other local forces across the country will not receive a single extra penny from the government. Local police forces will not benefit from this announcement, there is no new money in this announcement for local forces. In fact it is a real terms cut.
“Just to standstill West Midlands Police requires an extra £22 million. This announcement falls well short of that number.
“Crime and the threats that the country faces are rising. Police forces therefore require additional funding to meet that demand.
“The government expects council tax payers in the West Midlands to pay millions more, at a time when wages are stagnant and living standards are squeezed.”
West Midlands Police’s government funding has been cut heavily resulting in more than 2000 job cuts.
Meanwhile, Dame Spelman also welcomed news that the counter terrorism policing budget will rise by 7 per cent, with a £50 million increase taking it to at least £757 million.
There will also be an additional £130 million extra for ‘national policing priorities’.
Her office say this means the government is now spending more on counter terrorism policing than ever before.
Dame Caroline said: “This summer we have witnessed how recent criminal incidents and an increased terrorist threat have tested the resilience of community policing.
“Whilst the decision to necessitate the redeployment of police from rural to urban areas has kept busy public spaces safe, it has made suburban and rural communities more vulnerable to crimes such as burglary, car crime and anti-social behaviour.
“Having raised our case with the Minister in Parliament, individually and together with other cross party West Midlands MPs, I welcome this rise in local police funding for next year.
“In light of this announcement I would urge the Police and Crime Commissioner to ensure that this money is well spent to ensure sufficient protection for the people of Solihull Borough”.