Police

Part of Science, Technology and Engineering (Careers Information in Schools) – in the House of Commons at 1:26 pm on 13th February 2013.

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Photo of Jeremy Browne Jeremy Browne The Minister of State, Home Department 1:26 pm, 13th February 2013

I will get to the details, because some Members are actually genuinely interested in police funding, rather than in trying to score party political points. I owe it to them to treat them seriously, so let me turn to the funding settlement details.

In the past 12 months we have heard from policing partners on a number of funding issues, including the police allocation formula, as raised by my hon. Friend Annette Brooke, the process of damping and the community safety fund. There is a widely held view that the police allocation formula should be subject to a full review before any changes are made to the current damping policy. We will commence a review later this year. In the meantime, the current damping arrangements will remain, but a review will be undertaken on whether we can improve the allocation of central police funding.

Linked to the issue of allocation is the matter of the precept—the police element of council tax. Of course, I recognise that there is considerable disparity between force areas in the proportion of overall funding that comes from council tax, but we have to ensure that funding allocations to the police are as equitable as they can be. This is why all forces have received an equal percentage of the reduction in core Government funding.

On community safety funding, in 2013-14 police and crime commissioners will receive funding from a new and un-ringfenced transitional community safety fund, which they can use to invest in tackling drugs and crime or in community safety activities. In 2013-14, that funding will total £90 million. PCCs will have discretion to invest funding from the CSF in their own locally determined community safety priorities, including in existing programmes. This fund provides PCCs with the full flexibility to invest in their own priorities. To ensure that PCCs are able to make an informed decision about how to use their CSF allocations, we will publish details on the Home Office website of the existing drugs, crime and community safety funding streams that are ending. From 2014-15, the CSF will be rolled into the police main grant to give PCCs even greater freedom and flexibility over how they use their resources.

In summary, we cannot afford to continue the borrowing-fuelled levels of spending under the previous Government. The fact that crime continues to fall shows that the quality of policing cannot, and should not, be measured purely in terms of the level of resources put into it.