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Tony Hogg halts public consultation as Government withdraws funding review

Tony Hogg is today announcing that he will no longer be seeking to persuade the public to support a 15% police council tax increase.

Tony Hogg halts public consultation as Government withdraws funding review

His decision follows the announcement from Mike Penning, the policing minister, that the Government has abandoned the Home Office review in the police funding formula, which would have taken an additional £15m of funding from Devon and Cornwall, in favour of a new independent survey.

“I have responded to changing circumstances in my consideration of the budget requirement for policing in Devon and Cornwall,” said Mr Hogg.

“Mike Penning’s welcome decision to delay the review of police funding means it is no longer necessary to make a decision on a large council tax increase this year.”

Yesterday (9 November) the Government announced its intention to review the funding formula over the next twelve months. Mr Hogg intends to write to Mr Penning offering the support of his office for the next phase of this work. 

“Devon and Cornwall OPCC has proven itself to be the experts on the funding formula,” he said.

“My team has shown that it knows more about funding than any other force in the country and more than the Home Office.

“I intend to keep this work going and to offer our support to the Government in the next phase of the formula review.  Any new formula must recognise long-standing key issues such as the impact of rurality and tourism on the demands of policing.”

The delay in the review of the funding formula means that the budget position for all police forces will not be confirmed until December 2016.

This is because the Government will only announce its plans for the overall budget reduction for policing in the next few weeks rather than plans for the distribution between police forces. 

“I will make my budget decisions before and after Christmas and I expect there will still be uncertainty in the final budget position,” said Mr Hogg.

“I have therefore decided it is more appropriate that any request to consider something as important as a large increase in council tax should be made when the position is clearer and, given this significant development, probably in the next financial year.”

As a result of the funding formula element of the savings target the PCC has revised his budget reduction assumption to £39m down from £54m. 

“A £39m budget reduction is still going to be really challenging,” he said.

“Many aspects of policing will alter significantly and many services provided by the police currently provided may not be done in the future.  Hundreds of police officers, PCSOs and staff jobs will still be lost.  Many further police stations will be closed. 

“The chief constable and I will still need to make a number of difficult decisions over the next few months and it is all the more important that the public play a full part in keeping themselves safe.”