Cleveland Police funding has reduced by 18% since 2010-11.
Cleveland Police bosses are disappointed but not surprised that the National Audit Office (NAO), in their report ‘Financial Sustainability of Police Forces in England and Wales’, states that most forces do not have a thorough knowledge of demand, or what affects their costs, despite successfully meeting funding cuts since 2010-11 and reducing crime over the same period.
The report shows that Cleveland Police receive 70% of their budget from Central Government with the remaining 30% from the policing precept and local council tax support grants. In real terms, the overall funding available for policing our local areas has reduced by 18% since 2010-11, the tenth highest drop across the country.
Managing policing funding cuts relies on the police discovering different ways of working, such as collaboration with other police forces, emergency services and private or public sector partners, which is ongoing in Cleveland.
The report is based on analysis of 9 of the 43 forces nationally and does not include Cleveland.
Police & Crime Commissioner, Barry Coppinger, said "The report from the NAO confirms that Cleveland continues to be disadvantaged by the current approach to funding cuts that are happening to police budgets. This independent report shows that Cleveland has received the 10th highest reduction in overall funding, out of the 43 Forces within England and Wales. Had Cleveland received the same level of overall funding reductions, as the Force that has experienced the least reductions, at 12%, instead of the 18% that has been experienced in Cleveland, then I would have around £8m more each year to spend on policing within Cleveland, which is the equivalent of around 160 police officers.
"The report also highlights that, as a percentage of its budget, Cleveland has the 6th lowest level of reserves across the 43 forces within England and Wales. We continue to seek to ensure that we spend as much as possible in maintaining services and hope that this is taken into account when future levels of government funding are announced.
"In the past five years, Cleveland has lost 350 policing posts and has had to make £37m of savings from the budget in 2015/16. Officers, staff and partners have responded magnificently to this challenge and our financial planning has been rated outstanding. I shall be making the point to government that policing has now born its fair burden of cuts and to cut further will hit frontline policing. There should be no further cuts to policing. I will be writing to the Home Secretary to raise concerns."
Cleveland Police’s Deputy Chief Constable Iain Spittal echoed the PCC’s points. "The National Audit Office report articulates the impact of the budget cuts we have faced since the Comprehensive Spending Review in 2010.
"As an organisation we have responded positively throughout that period and have endeavoured to mitigate the impact of these cuts on members of our community. We are anxiously waiting to understand the scale of further cuts, which could impact as early as the current financial year, policing may face over the next few years.
"We have developed plans which as far as possible will ensure that we maintain good levels of service to our communities focused on protecting those most at risk of harm.
"It is unrealistic to think that further cuts to our funding could be absorbed without there being a significant impact on the service we provide."
Click here to view the National Audit Office Report ‘Financial Sustainability of Police Forces in England and Wales’
Posted on Thursday 4th June 2015