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Vera Baird Writes to MPs on Fair Funding Deal

6th February 2018

Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird has written to MPs across Northumbria to once again emphasise the need for a fair funding settlement from the government.

In writing to MPs Baird wishes to address some of the ‘misleading information’ supplied by government, and urges parliamentarians to urge government to better understand the realities of Northumbria’s situation in which the police force has experienced the biggest reduction to funding of all forces in the UK – with £136 million slashed from budgets since 2010.

Meanwhile ministers have rejected claims of underfunding, citing a £270million injection to PCC budgets and a collective £1.6bn reserves fund. In her letter, Commissioner Baird is keen to highlight that those figures mean very little at a local level – and whilst high reserves may be held by other forces, it is of no benefit to Northumbria Police. Similarly, the £270m, instead of coming from the central government purse, is instead the result of a rising police precept, meaning the burden of funding policing is shifted onto the shoulders of the taxpayer.

Her letter states that should the OPCC choose not to implement the precept increase of £12 for Band D properties, it will mean a reduction of £5.1 million funding, which results in the loss of neighbourhood police officers.

Baird says: “The cuts to our service have been so steep and so deep that we have had to use much of our reserves to fund day to day policing – to keep officers on the beat.  If reserves had not been used, we would have had to let hundreds more police officers go. There is now a danger that government cuts may put us in the vulnerable position of not being able to respond to an emergency or to fund major change costs because we simply don’t have the reserves to do so. 

“As Police and Crime Commissioner, I want to invest further in new technology for our police officers to allow them to continue delivering the best service possible.  I want to continue funding initiatives to tackle the increase in crime and I want us to recruit the very best people to deal with newer emerging crimes such as child sexual exploitation, FGM and modern slavery.  To achieve that we need a clear, open and transparent funding formula that recognises the needs of communities such as ours.”