Government police funding ‘catastrophe’ warns Devon and Cornwall OPCC
New Home Office funding proposals would have a ‘catastrophic’ effect on Devon and Cornwall Police.
According to Andrew White, chief executive in the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Devon and Cornwall could lose 200 more front line police officers if Government plans to change the way it funds forces go ahead.
Tony Hogg’s team has now scrutinised the Government’s proposed revisions to its allocation formula for police funding. Based on the information provided so far, potential cuts to the money Devon and Cornwall receives centrally would be £11m a year.
“If these proposals are implemented it would be a catastrophe,” said Mr White.
“A further funding loss of £11m a year would mean there could be 200 fewer police officers, leading to poorer services and decreased public safety.
“It is crazy that the Government is missing the chance to redress the balance between rural and metropolitan police forces. Instead they are exacerbating the problem.
“Devon and Cornwall already receive far less funding than metropolitan forces.
“The proposals fail to recognise the additional strain placed on policing services through our high levels of tourism. “
“One in eight overnight stays are taken in Devon and Cornwall and yet no account is taken for this.
“This means the population figures on which our funding is based are, on average, 125,000 below their true figure.
“Per head of population London receives two and half times our funding and Merseyside almost twice. We had hoped that the Home Office would rectify this discrimination with their proposals but they appear to have reinforced it through taking money away from Devon and Cornwall to give to metropolitan police forces.”
For the past month Mr Hogg has been leading a campaign to achieve fair funding for the force. Now Mr White is urging members of the public to respond directly to the consultation so that civil servants are forced to report to Ministers the strength of feeling in the south west about these proposals.
“We have already collected around 5,000 signatures demanding fair funding,” he said.
“It is now vital that people respond directly to the consultation to let civil servants know that their proposals are not acceptable.
“These proposals would mean that even more south west taxpayers money would go to the big city metropolitan forces, leaving Devon and Cornwall with fewer police officers to tackle crime and other challenges.”
The OPCC has prepared a template response that members of the public can send into the Home Office to register their concerns. This is available at www.devonandcornwall-pcc.gov.uk/fair-funding/
All submissions must be received by 5pm on 15 September.