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Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee Demands Answers

10th November 2015

The Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, Keith Vaz MP today referred to the chaotic position in which Northumbria Police had been put by the Home Office’s repeated failure to work out a rational basis for allocating force shares of next year’s Government Police Grant. Their first attempt would have left Northumbria police with an 18% less share of national funding, the second attempt left the force in about the same as the current position and the latest version would be potentially catastrophic for Northumbria communities, bringing a loss of up to £16.5 million.  There have been similar effects on other forces and Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird has called this ‘a crazy roller coaster ride which is no way to determine the very serious issue of how our police force is funded’.

Mr Vaz was today granted an Urgent Question by the Speaker of the House of Commons to ask Home Office Ministers about the repeated police funding formula errors, most recently the mistaken use of old data instead of upto date information. He used Northumbria as his first example of a force which would find it impossible to plan for the future.

The PCC has lobbied the government, demanding that the current process is stopped and has requested full involvement in the way the formula is calculated, including bringing in an independent organisation to do the job that the Home Office has failed on too many occasions. Police Minister Mike Penning apologised to Mr Vaz and agreed to cancel the current process and that there should be a fresh process for next year in which Police and Crime Commissioners would be fully involved.

Commissioner Baird, said “Police & Crime Commissioners, Local MPs, the Shadow Home Office team and now the Chair of the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee have asked how the Home Office came to the funding formula figures that they have.

“Local residents value their community police officers and the work they do.  Since 2010, police officer numbers in Northumbria have fallen by 16%, as we have suffered the biggest funding cuts of any force.

“We need an honest and transparent formula to make sure that funding allocation is fair. In November we are told we will lose an additional 25% to 40% cut to funds which will be devastating and taking away our share of the overall diminished pot would be even worse.”