PCC response to the Police Funding Settlement (13 Dec 2018)

Click here to read the provisional police grant reports

West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Mark Burns-Williamson said:

"Albeit, it appears that Government have partly acknowledged our ongoing calls for an urgent injection of funding into policing, more than half of today's so called "additional funding" is actually just transferred directly onto the local taxpayer to find any investment to recruit new officers.

"This is something that I have recently warned against during my representations to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Home Secretary.

"Simply increasing the flexibility of the police precept, not only imposes the Government financial shortcomings onto our communities, but forces our hand in having to rely heavily on further public funding locally to see any investment and growth in police numbers and services.

"It also conveniently shifts Government accountability onto the toes of Police and Crime Commissioners, who are left with little choice but to pursue this route in a bid to provide the necessary resources in securing the best possible service locally to tackle increases in various crime types.

"There is also still no mention of the long overdue revisions to the police funding formula which leaves West Yorkshire millions short every year.

"Significant proportions of this additional Government cash will also be used to fund national policing initiatives, as well as already announced boosts to counter terrorism.

"It does not address the immediate issues being felt locally and the time frames to recruit much needed officers and staff into the Force.

"West Yorkshire has some of the highest levels of deprivation in the country and this will be particularly unwelcome news to those already struggling to pay their bills.

"It's well known that since 2010 in West Yorkshire we have lost £140m plus from our budget which equates to roughly 2000 police jobs.

"The fact that Government have indicated that they will cover the first year of unexpected changes to pension cost shortfalls in West Yorkshire of £6.5m, also offers little solace or solution for the long term.

"It only takes us back to where we thought our overstretched budget was a couple of months ago and offers no clear indication of whether the £20m per year pensions shortfall in West Yorkshire will be covered from 2020 onwards.

"This significant and unforeseen pressure had not been incorporated into anyone's budget planning, nor was there adequate opportunity to do so.

"It now leaves us with the unpalatable prospect of catering for these future deficits within our current core budgets in order to avoid facing a cliff edge in the years ahead unless it is properly addressed in the next Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) to be delivered next year.

"This again reduces the pot which is currently available and which we so desperately need to sustain our police resources, capacity and capability in the long term, amid ever rising demand as referred to in a number of recent national reports from the Prime Minister's Home Affairs Select Committee, Public Accounts Committee and National Audit Office.

"I am left with few options as to how we can manage these shortfalls and deficits, whilst continuing to address the critical aspects of crime that we know exist, such as cyber-crime, sexual offences, violence and serious and organised crime.

"I will be engaging closely with the public, police and our partners in the weeks ahead to determine the best approach in helping to keep our communities' safe and feeling safe, if we are to re-invest in Neighbourhood and front-line Policing in particular, which the public often tell me is a priority for them."

Click here to read the Association of Police and Crime Commissioner's response to the Police Funding Settlement 

© Copyright West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner 2019