Chair calls for longer-term police funding settlement

The chair of Gwent Police Federation today called for the Government to make a long-term funding settlement for policing to allow forces to make strategic plans to fight crime.

Steve Thorpe says that the current system encourages short-term thinking and doesn’t necessarily benefit the public.

He was commenting as the Government revealed its financial commitment to policing for the forthcoming financial year was going up £1.1 billion from the previous 12-month period to a total of £16.9 billion.

Steve welcomed the increase but said it doesn’t go far enough to tackle the years of underfunding of the police service – and that’s before the cost of living crisis.

“Any increase in funding for Gwent Police and policing in general is welcome,” he said, “However, we’ve had a decade of cuts to policing, losing much of the infrastructure that supports our work, and this money won’t take us back to pre-austerity levels.

“And we’re living through a cost of living crisis so a large chunk of that money will already be taken up to pay for higher energy bills, rising fuel costs and employer National Insurance contributions.

“Working from year to year doesn’t lead to effective policing and doesn’t give the best value for money to the public. It handcuffs forces in making long-term strategic plans to tackle crime and protect communities.

“Policing is changing and evolving all the time and the service needs the ability to be able to identify trends, new and emerging crimes, and to be able to allocate resources accordingly.

“To do that, we need a new approach from the Government with a sustained funding settlement that allows forces to plan for the long-term.”

It’s a call echoed by Police Federation national vice-chair Ché Donald.

He said: “As the Government announces 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 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.”