In Home Office questions I highlighted that the Government is dismally failing to provide assurances on future funding for policing.
The Government’s ‘Operation Uplift’ programme aims to gradually provide 20,000 new police officers – a gradual and partial replacement for 21,000 cut since 2010. However, no clarification has been provided on how the programme will be funded after its first year, and it is estimated that it will only take officer numbers in Gwent to a total slightly below their 2010 levels.
Speaking in Home Office questions, I said “Gwent Police’s budget has been cut by 40% in real terms since 2010, so the Government plans to recruit will only take us back to where we were in 2010, if that. What assurances have Ministers given Gwent Police that this programme, and importantly pension costs, will be funded after the first year?”
Responding for the Home Office, Policing Minister Kit Malthouse said that Gwent Police “already up 42 police officers on last year’s budget settlement”, with a further target of 62 allocated in the latest funding round. He added that announcements on police funding would be made in early December, and that he was “confident that there will be smiles all round at Gwent Police when we do”.
The Government is still not providing any assurances on how its recruitment programme will be funded beyond the first year. The Home Office should step up to the mark and fully fund the programme for its first three years, rather than placing the burden on local forces to increase the precept. As I’ve said before, there are no indications of a move towards the long-term funding strategy for policing that officers and staff need and deserve.