14 February 2023
Derbyshire Police Federation has welcomed an increase in funding for 2023/24 but repeated its calls for an overhaul of the way the annual budget is worked out.
The total funding settlement adds up to £17.2 billion - a £287 million increase on last year’s figure - but a lot of the extra cash is coming from increased council tax precepts set by local Police and Crime Commissioners.
Policing minister Chris Philp told the House of Commons: “The overall funding for the police will go up by £287 million in total compared to the previous year and because of the way we are allocating the funding between police and crime commissioners (PCCs) who deliver frontline services, versus money spent by the Home Office centrally, the amount of money being received by PCCs will go up by over a half billion, it’ll go up by £523 million.
“I would, of course, want to remind the House and to remind PCCs that before they turn to local taxpayers to increase their contributions, it is important for PCCs and indeed chief constables to seek efficiencies and maximise productivity before increasing levels of tax.”
Many PCCs have already indicated they will seek to raise the precept by the maximum allowed under a change in the rules introduced by this Government.
Critics have accused the Government of handing responsibility for the police budget to council taxpayers.
Shadow Home Office minister Sarah Jones said the grant funding “is down in real terms” and blamed the Government for “further burdening local taxpayers instead of dealing with inflation and properly funding the police”.
Derbyshire Police Federation chair Tony Wetton said he was pleased funding was going up this year but repeated the Police Federation’s calls for reform.
He said: “Any increase in funding is welcome but once again there are some big questions about how the annual settlement is reached and how long before the current system becomes unsustainable.
“This year the figure has been boosted by PCC precepts on people’ council tax bills but will that be the same next year? Who knows? Police funding has become too variable when what we need is certainty.
“We are calling for a properly thought-out, long-term funding mechanism which enables police forces to plan ahead and not live hand-to-mouth without really knowing if the next year’s budget is going to be higher, lower or roughly the same as the one before.
“It is very difficult to run a modern, efficient, proactive police service on those terms and so we are calling for the whole funding model to be scrapped and rebuilt from scratch with input from all interested parties.
“We just want a system that is fit for purpose and I don’t think that is too much to ask.”