15 March 2019
The Chancellor has announced a £100 million cash boost to help forces tackle the surge in knife crime.
The investment has been welcomed by Derbyshire Police Federation chair Tony Wetton but he has warned that there needs to be a longer term re-investment in policing rather than just a short-term fix.
Mr Hammond, in his Spring Statement on Wednesday, responded to the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s request for urgent funding after an increase in serious violent crime and in particular stabbings.
The £100m will help fund a series of measures including setting up violent crime reduction units. The funds will be ring-fenced to pay for over-time costs.
Mr Hammond acknowledged police and crime commissioners are committed to recruit and train extra officers, but this takes time – emphatically stating that he and the Prime Minister have agreed action is needed now.
“While we haven’t seen the same in Derbyshire, we have all read the shocking headlines about the rise in knife crime and everyone in policing has known that we need to see an end to austerity measures and a proper re-investment in the police service so that we can get more officers onto the streets fighting and preventing crime and protecting our communities,” said Tony.
“We welcome this extra money but we all know it’s going to be more of a sticking plaster than an actual long-term solution. That long-term solution, as we’ve been telling Government for several years, requires proper investment in policing which provides officers on the ground in sufficient numbers to address and prevent these issues - not the short-term option of using already over-worked and over-stretched officers on over-time.
“While the officers I represent, who have seen their real-terms pay cut by nearly a fifth since 2009/10, may well need the extra money in their pay packets, it is not sustainable to expect them to deal with crisis after crisis by giving up rest periods and priceless time with their families.”
As well as announcing that police funding would increase from April, the Chancellor said the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, would work with police chiefs to find a lasting solution to the problem.
National Federation chair John Apter met Mr Javid on Monday and said: “I made it clear that police officers who are at the forefront of tackling this epidemic are already run ragged; and it is a sad state of affairs when the Home Secretary has to take a begging bowl to the Treasury in a bid to solve the crisis we find ourselves in and we don’t yet know how the money will be broken down among the 43 forces.
“Whilst the funding is welcome it is, however, just a short-term fix as knife crime and violent crime continues to plague our towns and cities. We still urgently need additional resources to solve this issue in the long run.
“The Government must make a significant investment in the spending review to give police the long-term boost they need. We know this cannot be solved overnight, or by the police alone, but we certainly need to be at the heart of any solution."
Further announcements on police spending are expected to be made at the spending review this summer ‘assuming a Brexit deal is agreed over the next few weeks’.