Derbyshire Police Federation

Time for long-term police funding

15 January 2020

The Government must make a long-term and sustained funding settlement for policing to end the boom and bust one-year settlements that prevent forces making strategic plans to fight crime and support communities, according to the national chair of the Police Federation.

John Apter put forward his arguments in the Federation’s submission to Phase 1 of the Strategic Review of Policing, launched by the Government last year and being carried out by The Police Foundation, and called for an end to the current system where policing has been at the whim of political drivers with annual budgets set by national and local government.

The submission also demands a full review of the police funding formula to end the current postcode lottery where richer regions get more resources for policing.

Derbyshire Police Federation chair Tony Wetton has backed the national chair, saying the time has come to push for longer-term funding to help forces ensure future stability.

“We have all seen the effects of the current funding system,” says Tony, “We need to see a new approach for the benefit of the police service but also for the communities we serve.

“Over the last 10 years, the Government’s austerity measures have had a devastating impact on policing. We have seen officer numbers plummet, our communities have suffered and our officers have struggled as they have tried to meet ever-increasing demand with reduced resources.

“We have heard the new Prime Minister and the Home Secretary say they will re-invest in policing and we also heard the Chancellor, during his short stint as Home Secretary, say he was listening to what we were saying and he ‘got it’. We now need to see them put their words into actions.”

Tony also questions the feasibility of the Government’s plans to recruit 20,000 new officers over the next three years.

“The Federation has calculated that with the number of officers retiring or resigning we would actually need to recruit 55,000 officers to increase our overall numbers by 20,000 and that 20,000, while welcome, would actually only restore numbers to 2010 levels,” says Tony.

“We also have to bear in mind that as forces tried to balance the books police stations were closed so where are we going to base all these new officers? Training departments were scaled back during the years when recruitment was limited so we have to get them all up and running again and then we have to provide all these new recruits with uniform and other equipment. It is not as simple as opening up recruitment of this scale and off we go.”The Police Federation submission to the Strategic Review also called for:

  • An examination of the adequacy of mental health services and impact of the increasing number of elderly and vulnerable people in society
  • A re-examination of a complaints investigation protocol which is labour intensive and often disproportionate to the magnitude of a complaint
  • Proper analysis of the 43-force model of policing which ‘may not necessarily best serve the needs of the public’.

Describing the Strategic Review as a ‘once in a generation opportunity to help right the wrongs of austerity’, the national Federation chair said: “It’s almost 60 years since the last Royal Commission, and we have been calling for another since 1999. This review is an important opportunity for us to help shape the future of policing into the century.

“While appreciating that the police service is a 24/7, 365 days a year service, it does not mean it is best place or best equipped to deal with all public demands. This is an opportunity to help determine what the public wants and expects of their police service.”

Following the conclusion of the first phase of the review, a further second phase will examine workforce, equipment, accountability mechanisms, structures and resources in early 2020.

 

 

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