In order to address key priorities and meet the needs of Cleveland’s communities, the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) needs to make sure Cleveland Police has adequate funding and resources.
In order to do this, the PCC produces an annual budget made up from Government funding and the Council Tax precept. The precept is money added to Council Tax bills in Cleveland to pay for policing.
The PCC has campaigned for better Government funding for Cleveland Police.
The campaign for fairer funding
In December 2018, the PCC for Cleveland got together with counterparts in the Northumbria and Durham force areas to demand fairer funding for police in the North East.
All three PCCs called for an urgent meeting with the Home Secretary to discuss planned increases in the amount, which householders pay towards policing from annual Council Tax bills.
Government funding for each force assumed that PCCs would increase the precept by up to £24 for Band D properties. If PCCs didn’t raise the precept, it would effectively result in a funding cut.
PCCs claimed that police forces in the north east had seen a drop of more than 30 per cent in funding since 2010.
In turn, that resulted in almost 2,000 fewer police officers on the streets of Northumbria, County Durham and Cleveland.
Despite the campaign, Government funding for Cleveland Police was cut by a further £2.1m in real terms. That brought the total cuts from 2010 to £40m, resulting in the loss of 500 police officers and 50 PCSOs.
Cleveland’s settlement was the lowest funding increase in the country at just 5.77%. This was despite the area having the fourth highest crime level per 1,000 population in the country.
In a bid to draw more resources back into the community, the PCC and the Police and Crime Panel agreed to increase the precept to make up for the shortfall. That increase protected resource levels and generated an additional £1.8m to invest in policing. The extra cash was used to:
- Increase resources in the Force Control Room to provide a more timely responses to 999 and 101 calls
- Increase investment in crime investigation and safeguarding vulnerable victims, particularly in relation to domestic abuse
- Deliver core priorities to respond and protect
- Maintain a commitment to neighbourhood policing with resources protected for the most challenging communities and a named PCSO contact for every council ward
- Maintain investment in wellbeing to make sure more officers and staff are available for duty.
A better deal in 2020
In January 2020, the Government announced better funding for policing. Government funding added to an increase of £10 per year in precepts for Band D properties meant Cleveland Police could recruit an extra 127 police officers in 2020, bringing the total to 1,390.
Recruitment was brought forward so Cleveland residents could see more police on their streets within weeks of the announcement.
The fight continues….
However, current police totals still fall short of the 1,756 officers, recorded in April 2009. This was when officer numbers were at an all-time high.