Commissioner directly challenges the Prime Minister to ensure fair funding for Devon and Cornwall Police
As David Cameron and his family take their annual family holiday to Cornwall, Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Hogg has written to the Prime Minister asking him to ensure fair funding for Devon and Cornwall Police.
His letter (read it here), sent as Mr Hogg’s office further reveals the shocking effects of the Government’s proposed police funding formula, highlights the unfairness of the Government’s plan which, amongst several other factors, ignores the impact that tourism has on policing.
New research from the OPCC shows that Devon and Cornwall Police would lose an extra £24m under the Government’s funding formula plan – and this is on top of £29m cuts under the comprehensive spending review (CSR) which will be fully implemented by 2018/19.
“The Home Office proposals for police funding allocation are a disaster for Devon and Cornwall.” said Mr Hogg.
“A loss of £24m is the equivalent of losing 500 police officers. If these proposals are implemented in their current form, on top of the enormous cuts we already face, I believe that policing will be unsustainable across Devon and Cornwall.”
The OPCC has now concluded the analysis of the Government’s funding formula proposals. The basis on which this appraisal has been carried out has been discussed with Home Office officials who have not raised any concerns about its accuracy. However they have refused to release their own calculations about the impact on police forces.
The funding formula is based on the five factors below, and each is disadvantageous to Devon and Cornwall:
- Population – no account taken of the tourist numbers that visit Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. The population increases by 21% over the summer months which leads to higher crime rates and more road accidents. This is totally ignored by the formula.
- Council tax base – the OPCC believes this factor has no clear rationale. The Home Office argue that the ability to raise money through the police precept should be taken into account but this measure simply disadvantages every large force regardless of their council tax base.
- Bar density – although Devon and Cornwall has 3.8% of all licensed bars in England and Wales (excluding London) the formula would only provide 1.08% of the available money for this measure. This is because the proposed formula divides the number of bars by hectares – so Devon and Cornwall is penalised for being geographically large. The unfairness of using hectares becomes clear when comparing how the proposed formula treats West Yorkshire which has a similar number of bars than Devon and Cornwall but gets five times more funding (£24m extra) because of its smaller geographic area.
- Deprivation measures – the proposed formula uses two different measures for deprivation – it assumes on the basis that crime is more likely to occur in those areas of deprivation. Both measures disadvantage Devon and Cornwall. They use a limited set of indicators which are most likely to occur in urban areas and ignore key factors such as average income and lack of employment. They also duplicate each other, meaning the impact is twice as hard.
“We are already disadvantaged by the current funding formula and yet these proposals make it even worse.” said Tony Hogg.
“It is now time for everyone to make their voice heard. Our MPs need to be lobbying the PM, the Home Secretary and the Policing Minister. The proposed formula is ill conceived. It disadvantages large rural forces such as Devon and Cornwall without taking any account of the challenges it faces to police this large and busy area.”
Mr Hogg is highlighting the work that his office has done to other disadvantaged forces.
“Although my focus is on Devon and Cornwall, I am working with other PCCs who are similarly disadvantaged to make sure ministers are under no illusion about just how devastating this will be. My office is now receiving daily requests from other police forces and PCC offices for details of our analysis.”
“Interestingly the Prime Minister and Home Secretary’s force area, Thames Valley, is even more badly affected than Devon and Cornwall.”
You can make your voice heard by signing our Fair Funding petition here >