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Devon and Cornwall's high visitor numbers likely to influence police funding formula

Devon and Cornwall’s Police and Crime Commissioner has welcomed an announcement that visitor numbers are likely to be considered in a review of the way police forces are funded.

Devon and Cornwall's high visitor numbers likely to influence police funding formula

Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez’s Devon and Cornwall delegation present Policing Minister Kit Malthouse with a dossier of evidence about the affect of high visitor numbers on the force in 2019

Alison Hernandez has for years campaigned for Devon and Cornwall Police to receive extra money because the force area has more visitors than any other outside London.

Four years ago the Commissioner, backed by politicians from around the peninsula, presented then Policing Minister with a dossier outlining the challenges faced by Devon and Cornwall Police.

Last October (2022) she submitted evidence to the Home Office’s Call for Information on Sparsity and Seasonality – part of its work to develop a new funding formula for policing.

On Monday Policing Minister Chris Philp, in an answer to a question by North Devon MP Selaine Saxby, said “rurality, sparsity and seasonality, particularly seasonal tourism”, were likely to be considered as part of a consultation into a new funding formula.

The formula determines how much each Police and Crime Commissioner receives for their respective forces from central government, with the rest of the budget made up from the policing ‘precept’ added to council tax bills.

The current formula provides no financial recognition of the number of visitors that forces must deal with. The Government intends to consult on a new formula ‘in due course’.

The Commissioner said: “At this time of year the number of incidents that Devon and Cornwall Police must deal with increases substantially. These incidents are not only crime related but are linked to road traffic collisions, missing people and calls for help from people who are experiencing mental ill health.

“Devon and Cornwall’s rurality and sparsity add to the challenge of dealing with the visitor influx and it is fantastic that those in Westminster have heard our message. I will continue to make the case that Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are worthy of additional central Government investment so we can maintain the force area as one of the safest in England and Wales for our resident populations and those who choose to holiday in this wonderful part of the world.

“I look forward to taking part in the forthcoming consultation on this formula.”

In September 2019 the Commissioner headed to Westminster with a delegation of councillors, MPs and police representatives to hand in a dossier of information about the impact of visitors on the force area.

It showed that there had been a 14% increase in incidents between April and October in Devon and Cornwall, the largest increase amongst English and Welsh forces.