Police Funding Settlement

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 6th February 2012.

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Photo of Owen Smith Owen Smith Labour, Pontypridd 2:30 pm, 6th February 2012

Whether she plans to reassess the police funding settlement for 2012-13.

Photo of Nick Herbert Nick Herbert Minister of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office) , The Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice

No; the allocations of police funding were set out last week and will be debated in the House on Wednesday.

Photo of Owen Smith Owen Smith Labour, Pontypridd

I thank the Minister for that concise and to-the-point answer. He will know that the net effect of the spending cuts in Wales is a reduction of 750 in the number of officers on the front line. What guarantees can he offer the people of Wales that that reduction will not be attended by a corresponding increase in crime in Wales?

Photo of Nick Herbert Nick Herbert Minister of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office) , The Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice

I know from talking with chief constables in Wales that they are absolutely committed to continuing to reduce crime. The important point is that, according to the latest figures, recorded crime in Wales continued to fall. It is very important that police forces focus on ensuring that the available resource is deployed effectively and that they prioritise the front line and drive out cost in those back-office functions. Forces up and down the country are showing that that can be done.

Photo of Nigel Mills Nigel Mills Conservative, Amber Valley

Does the Minister not think that it is time to review the damping mechanism in the settlement, which deprives forces such as the Derbyshire constabulary of large amounts of funding each year?

Photo of Nick Herbert Nick Herbert Minister of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office) , The Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice

My hon. Friend will have an opportunity to raise that issue in the police funding debate on Wednesday. I know that that is a constant concern of forces that lose out from damping and that they want to move towards the formula. We are committed to doing that and will look at these issues carefully for the next years of the spending settlement. However, an equal number of forces feel that they would lose out as a result, so it is a very difficult issue.

Photo of Diana R. Johnson Diana R. Johnson Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

The Government have now admitted that they got police funding for London wrong with their U-turn on Metropolitan police funding and a £90 million bung for Boris’s re-election campaign, yet the Met is not the only force facing pressures from the Olympics and other issues. Will the Minister now reverse the cuts to other forces, such as West Midlands, Greater Manchester,

Humberside and Merseyside police, all of which are cutting the number of officers? Cut crime, not the police.

Photo of Nick Herbert Nick Herbert Minister of State (Ministry of Justice and Home Office) , The Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice

It is hardly likely that the coalition Government would be acting in the way the hon. Lady suggests. Of course, in London we have recognised the special position of the Olympics and the royal jubilee through a one-off additional payment, which we can discuss further on Wednesday. I note that once again Opposition Front Benchers are pretending that they want to increase spending on police forces, but they have in fact admitted that they would cut police spending by over £1 billion a year and introduce additional cuts that would match our own.