Tony Hogg welcomes call for independent police funding review
Devon and Cornwall’s Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Hogg has welcomed calls for an independent panel to advise the Government on future proposals for police funding.
A report published by the Home Affairs Select Committee says accounting firms, financial experts and the College of Policing should be appointed to assist the Home Office in formulating revised proposals.
Last month the Home Office paused its review process after Mr Hogg’s office highlighted serious errors in calculating the funding allocations for police force areas.
These errors resulted in forces who had been advised they would be “winners” under the new funding allocation finding they are in fact facing cuts, and vice versa.
Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP, Chair of the Committee, said: “The ease with which Devon and Cornwall exposed the error was almost farcical, in a modern day battle between David and Goliath.
“Police forces found themselves on a rollercoaster, where at the stroke of a pen they saw their funding allocation plummet in some cases and rise meteorically in others, with nobody able to explain why. It would be charitable to call it a shambles.
“Errors by senior officials in the Home Office and the process adopted were serious mistakes, which wasted time and resources and gravely damaged confidence in the Home Office in the eyes of their principal stakeholders, the Police themselves.
“The current police funding formula has become unfit for purpose, and this review was welcome. Instead of designing a process which truly engaged the Police and Police and Crime Commissioners, they were shut out, with the Home Office denying them access to data and giving them an impossibly short amount of time to submit evidence.”
In response Tony Hogg said: “I’m delighted and impressed with the way that the committee has worked. There is no doubt the funding formula was a shambles.
“There was no element of the proposed formula that was fit for purpose.
“This has directly saved Devon and Cornwall £15million next year alone and now my office is back to work working hard on the same issues again to ensure the next set of proposals are fairer for the people of Devon and Cornwall.
In its recommendations the report goes on: “We commend the work of Andrew White, chief executive of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall, in bringing to light the calculation error that the Home Office failed to identify. It would be amusing if it were not so serious that Mr White was able to unravel the entire funding model in a way that made the Home Office look foolish.
“An independent panel should be appointed to assist in formulating revised proposals.
“We hope the assistance and advice of external experts will deliver a fair and effective funding formula. For this to work, the Home Office needs to state clearly what they expect the Police to do, and what they are prepared to fund.”