West Yorkshire PCC statement on Government funding settlement
Wednesday 22 January 2020
West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner’s (PCC) statement on the Government’s funding settlement
Mark Burns-Williamson said that although the funding announcement for West Yorkshire was cautiously welcomed, in real terms local policing still faced complex and demanding challenges.
He added: “Although the settlement announcement is a step in the right direction and well overdue after a decade of austerity, West Yorkshire still faces many complex and challenging demands.
“It is also really important to remember this is only a one year settlement which again leaves us with a degree of uncertainty going forward in the absence of any timetable for reform of the police funding formula and how it will be allocated.
“Today’s announcement includes £700m for the recruitment of 6,000 additional officers nationally by end of March 2021.
“That will be an increase of 256 for West Yorkshire, though still means a reduction of 510 officers from 2010 levels.
“It will also take 3-4 years at least to feel the full impact of the officers to be recruited to front line duties given the introduction of the Police Education Qualification Framework (PEQF) from 2020 which requires much longer periods of new recruits spending time in training and educational settings. I don’t think the Government have fully understood the impact this will have on the timeline of achieving the uplift figures.
“It’s disappointing that the Home Office still haven’t confirmed what is happening with the funding formula despite repeated calls from me and many others asking them to review it. We know if it was properly reviewed, the evidence and level of demand shows that areas like West Yorkshire should receive many millions more per year.
“The specific details of the settlement and what it means for us locally need to be worked through, but again the Government have assumed PCC’s raising the precept by the full amount £10 on a Band D property as part of their overall figures.
“I have already launched a consultation on the police budget and I am asking for views because in order to meet the other cost pressures not covered in the uplift amounts, we will need to raise the police precept which is the part of the council tax that helps to fund policing locally and accounts for about 30% of the total West Yorkshire Police budget.
“But this puts an extra burden on local taxpayers by the Government looking to PCCs to increase the precept to meet these costs. Here in West Yorkshire the central government grant for policing has been cut by £140m since 2010 (around a 30% cut).
“Despite the funding promises now, we still need to find money for well-earned pay awards, pension shortfalls and general inflationary costs across the board, which are also not included in this uplift money or the overall settlement figure. This is something we have to address and manage locally.
“West Yorkshire Police definitely faces cost pressures recruiting into police key staff roles, whether that is digital investigators, call handlers or Police Community Support Officers. These are all crucial jobs that need to be carried out in supporting our visible front line policing and it all needs funding and paying for.
“As PCC I want to continue increasing frontline policing, putting more police officers in our neighbourhoods and to make sure communities are safe and feel safe, which I know is a priority for many people.
“That will have to mean a precept increase because the Government’s promise to ‘strengthen our police service and tackle unacceptable levels of crime’ will mean some of that money has to come locally to cover all the costs not fully covered in settlement announced today in Parliament.”
Complete the precept online survey at www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/WYBudget2020
The deadline for responses to the survey is 5pm on Friday 31st January.