Government ‘robbing’ county police of funding

Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Charles has warned that the county’s force still faces a tough financial struggle despite news that it would not be hit with further budget cuts beyond those anticipated next year.

Mr Charles was speaking after the Government announced how next year’s police settlement would be allocated across the 43 forces in England and Wales. Derbyshire is set to receive £110.1m for 2013-14.

Mr Charles, Derbyshire’s first elected Commissioner, said: “We are pleased that the Home Secretary has kept her promise to protect next year’s funding from any additional reductions. This follows pressure applied from newly elected Police & Crime Commissioners who met Theresa May on December 3.

“Derbyshire simply cannot withstand any further cutbacks to its policing grant without serious implications to performance. To date, Derbyshire Police has already delivered savings of over £20.3m to balance its budget. These reductions have been painful and have resulted in the loss of 159 police officers over the last two years and some 277 police staff.

“Any further cuts would put us in an extremely precarious position and make our job to protect the county much more difficult. I will fight any future cuts to our budget at the highest level.”

Derbyshire remains one of the lowest funded forces in the country due to the way the Government’s funding formula is applied, meaning the county has lost out on some £1.9m of funding to protect other forces from funding losses – some of which were already better funded than Derbyshire.

“Over the last seven years Derbyshire Police has lost out on a total of £30m of funding to protect other forces from funding losses due to this unfair system.

“This is equivalent to an annual loss of some £13 per band D taxpayer in Derbyshire. It is disappointing that Government have not taken the opportunity to address some of the inequalities of funding across Commissioners budgets in the funding system.

“Derbyshire Police is working closely with other forces across the region, which are also losing out on Government funding, to deliver even more cost-effective services.”

Next year’s funding arrangements include, for the first time, a separate allocation for 2013-14 in relation to the Community Safety Grant, which will be rolled in to the main police and crime grant for 2014-15.