10 February 2022
As the Government reveals its financial commitment to policing for the upcoming financial year, PFEW's National Vice Chair speaks out about the need for a multi-year settlement to better support policing. The Police Grant Report for 2022/23 was debated in the House of Commons on Wednesday 9 February.
National Vice Chair Ché Donald says: "As the Government announce the 2022/23 funding settlement for policing, the Police Federation of England and Wales continues to call for a more sustainable multi-year settlement, rather than year upon year funding.
"The settlement for the next financial year will total up to £16.9 billion, a £1.1billion rise on the previous year’s funding. This settlement fails to take account of the increased costs forces will incur, which will see this £1.1 billion immediately absorbed in energy, fuel and increased employer National Insurance contributions. Essentially, the Government are giving with one hand and taking with the other.
"Available funding to Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) could increase by up to an additional £796 million, but this assumes a full take-up of precept flexibility. Council tax levels are a local decision and elected PCCs will understandably want to consider what they are asking people to pay locally for policing, given the increased costs and wage restraint their electorates will be facing. Whatever local precept is decided, essentially, the public are paying twice for the same service, creating a two-tier system where wealthier communities have more money available for local policing than others.
"The Government must consider a sustained multi-year funding settlement for policing, which will allow forces to make long term strategic plans to respond to the changing nature of crime and support communities. The ability to plan past the next year will enable forces to achieve better procurement deals and to see overall costs come down. Without the ability to search for better deals due to the uncertainty of what is to come year after year, the 2022/23 marginal increase will get lost in the high day to day costs that forces are currently incurring.
"One-year financial settlements do not work and forces shouldn’t have to operate on a ‘hand-to-mouth’ basis. Over the last decade, the police service has been hit hard by budget cuts and it needs more than a one-year cash injection to put things right. What is desperately needed is long-term, genuine investment in policing."