PCC Barry Coppinger urges for fairer national funding for Cleveland Police following a report from the National Audit Office:
Mr Coppinger notes: 'The National Audit Office hit the nail on the head in its recent report on police funding by concluding that the Government lacks a long term plan for policing and that there are significant gaps in its understanding of the differing demands across the country.
In Cleveland Government funding to Cleveland Police has been cut by £39m (36%) in real terms over the past seven years. This has resulted in the loss of over 500 officers. It was only by increasing the local police precept by £12 this year that we were able to prevent a further 60 job losses.
Compare this with Surrey, which has actually seen overall funding increase by 1% (in cash terms) since 2010-11. If Cleveland had experienced a similar 1% increase the force would now have £15m extra to spend on policing Cleveland, which has a Police Recorded Crime level per head of Population that is nearly 60% higher than Surrey’s.
Research by my Office has revealed that cuts to policing have not been applied fairly. Eight of the ten Police Force Areas with the highest victim-based crimes per head of population also feature in the ten with the highest cash reductions in total funding since 2010-11. Cleveland features in both ‘top 10s’ as do Northumbria and Durham.
There seems to be a clear strategy by the Government to shift the cost of policing from national taxation to local precept and this is inherently unfair.
Cleveland’s low council tax base means forces covering a similar population receive a far higher amount through the local precept. Gwent, for example, has a population just 3.5% higher than Cleveland yet receives 35% more money through the precept – about £16m a year.
I continue to support neighbourhood policing and want to see the re-assuring presence of a uniformed beat bobby as an integral part of local communities across Cleveland. Further Government cuts to funding threaten this most vital of services.
I urge anyone with influence, whatever their political persuasion, to read the NAO report and join me in the campaign for fairer funding for Cleveland Police.'
Posted on Monday 24th September 2018