Police

Part of Science, Technology and Engineering (Careers Information in Schools) – in the House of Commons at 3:59 pm on 13th February 2013.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department 3:59 pm, 13th February 2013

That is one of the details relating to the most effective way to deliver on the type of register that is being established. I am sure that, given the very good scrutiny that the Home Affairs Select Committee provides, the right hon. Gentleman and his Committee will follow through on the important issues that will follow from the well-received announcement from the Home Secretary yesterday.

I want to comment on some of the points that have been raised today on the arrangements for damping and on the police allocation formula. The Government will conduct a fundamental review of the formula, as the Minister of State, Home Department, my hon. Friend Mr Browne said earlier, and we will seek the views of police and crime commissioners across England and Wales. Determining how funding should be allocated to the police is a complex and important matter. It requires careful consideration and it will take time. In that context, it is important that that work should be undertaken before we can consider the arrangements for damping.

Keith Vaz highlighted the question of the National Policing Improvement Agency budget. He focused on the funding for the College of Policing but, in addition, the Home Office will be engaged in funding relating to the provision of Airwave and to the Police ICT Company Ltd. The right hon. Gentleman was trying to connect one element of funding to another, but there are other elements involved. I hope that this is a helpful explanation.

A number of points have been raised about police pay and conditions. My hon. Friend the Member for Bury St Edmunds said that pay accounted for a large proportion of police spending, and that the police pay bill was a key issue. Our aim has been to have pay and conditions that support forces in driving out costs and making the best use of their resources. That is why we have asked the police, along with the rest of the public sector, to take a two-year pay freeze, and subject to any decisions by the Police Negotiating Board and an agreement on staff pay, we expect the Government’s policy for public sector pay restraint also to apply to the police. We have also taken forward proposals relating to the Winsor review. The reforms from part 1 will save about £150 million when fully implemented and will give chief officers greater flexibility in how they deploy their officers and shape their work forces.

I was interested to hear the assertion from the Opposition Front Bench that Labour would be looking for 12% savings. However, the Opposition apparently also support reforms to overtime and shift patterns, the pay freeze and the police arbitration tribunal’s decision on police pay. They must therefore be talking about 12% plus all those elements. When we analyse that, we find that they are in substantially the same position as the Government, although they did not accept that. If they are saying that they would implement 12% savings, which of those elements do they not accept? They will need to consider that question carefully, and it is interesting that they have not responded to that question today.

The right hon. Member for Leicester East asked me whether the counter-terrorism element should be part of the National Crime Agency. He and his Committee highlighted that point in their recent report. I can tell him that there will be no wholesale review of counter-terrorism policing arrangements in England and Wales until after the NCA is up and running. We judge that to be the right time to look at that issue, although we recognise that it needs to be examined in the context of the changed landscape for policing. On the point about rural policing, the formula distributes funding based on relative work loads in an area, and apportions according to population sparsity to address the specific needs of rural forces.

Andy McDonald highlighted regional organised crime units, and in many ways he touches on the important issue of collaboration. I had the pleasure of going to the east midlands special operations unit last year, and I saw how special operations come together and how collaboration can make an important difference. The Government strongly support that model of forces coming together in that way.

Nic Dakin highlighted a point about partnerships, and I am sure that police and crime commissioners will focus on that when considering how they apply the community safety fund and budget. Yes, there is still more to do, but we are confident that with a clear focus on making the necessary changes, the police will continue to provide the service that the public deserve, alongside delivering value for money for the taxpayer. I pay tribute to the work of the police in doing that, and to their success in cutting crime and keeping our community safe, and I commend the motion to the House.