Funding settlement “fails to undo damage from austerity years”

Gwent Police Federation chair Steve Thorpe has described the provisional funding settlement for 2022/23 is a step in the right direction.

But he warned the extra money will not make up for the impact of austerity on policing in general and the Force specifically.

Steve was speaking after Home Secretary Priti Patel published details of the provisional settlement, with policing receiving an extra £1.1 billion next year. It represents a seven per cent increase on last year’s figures.

The money Gwent Police receives from the Government will rise from £140.3 million in 2020/21 to £150m in 2021/22 and then to £157.8m in 2022/23.

Steve said: “We always welcome additional investment in policing and this money is a step in the right direction.

“However, it’s not enough to undo the damage of the austerity years and it’s not enough to meet the new and complex demands placed on our members.

“Our members have had a really tough two years policing the pandemic and they’re increasingly becoming the service of last resort, picking up the pieces for other underfunded services.

“And all the while we’re facing emerging threats such as cyber-crime and complex fraud while having to do our traditional day job.

“We need the proper funding to ensure we have the resources we need to tackle crime and antisocial behaviour and keep our communities safe.”

Ms Patel said that the additional £1.1bn will help support the delivery of the Beating Crime Plan, which set out the Government’s mission to deliver fewer victims, safer neighbourhoods, and a more secure country.

In particular, the plan focuses on driving down homicide, serious violence and neighbourhood crime – to ensure that everyone can benefit from the security that a safe home, street and country provides.

She said: “Crimes including theft, burglary and knife crime are down, we’ve got an additional 11,053 police officers on our streets, and we’ve shut down 1,500 drugs lines which exploit the young and the vulnerable.

“But we must go further and faster to make our communities even safer, so today I am giving our excellent police forces and law enforcement agencies more funding to do just that, in line with our Beating Crime Plan.

“Reducing crime is a top priority for this Government and I will continue working with police leaders to ensure this unprecedented investment results in less crime and fewer victims.”