Police Funding

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 6 July 2015.

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Photo of Andy McDonald Andy McDonald Labour, Middlesbrough 2:30, 6 July 2015

What assessment she has made of the level of regional variation in real-terms funding changes for police forces.

Photo of Mike Penning Mike Penning The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

The way the funding formula works means that there is no change based on the region someone is in.

Photo of Andy McDonald Andy McDonald Labour, Middlesbrough

The Government have made vague references to a review of the grossly unfair police funding formula, but there is no confirmation as yet of when it will conclude. Cleveland, which has one of the highest numbers of crimes per head of population, has experienced a reduction of 18% in overall funding since 2010, whereas Surrey, which has one of the lowest numbers, has experienced a reduction of 12%. That shows how Cleveland has been disadvantaged by cuts being made with no account taken of local need and circumstances. What assistance will the Minister give to forces that are struggling to keep officers on the front line, pending the review?

Photo of Mike Penning Mike Penning The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

The funding formula for 2015-16 has been announced. Crime in Cleveland has dropped by 12%, which is what I think the hon. Gentleman was alluding to. We will consult this summer on the new funding formula for 2016-17 so we have a fairer formula than that which we inherited from the Labour party.

Photo of Helen Whately Helen Whately Conservative, Faversham and Mid Kent

What discussions has the Secretary of State had with her counterparts in France to avoid a repeat of the disruption last week in Calais, which placed such an onerous burden on the Kent police and the people of Kent?

Photo of Mike Penning Mike Penning The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

My ministerial colleagues and the Secretary of State have many conversations with their French counterparts at all levels, particularly in Calais.

Photo of Rosie Cooper Rosie Cooper Labour, West Lancashire

The Lancashire police federation is clear that further cuts to police budgets will soon result in policing becoming reactive, with only the capacity to deal with 999 calls. Given that 83% of Lancashire police’s work does not generate a crime number, who is going to pick up the work that the police cannot do because of the cuts?

Photo of Mike Penning Mike Penning The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

What we have proven since 2010 is that police forces can do better with less and they are being much more efficient around the country, including Lancashire where crime is down by 10%. The funding formula for 2015-16 is out, so forces know exactly what they can spend, and the 2016-17 consultation will start soon. You never know: Cleveland may do better. There will be winners and losers, but I hope it will be fairer.

Photo of Philip Hollobone Philip Hollobone Conservative, Kettering

Crime levels overall in Northamptonshire have fallen substantially in the past five years, despite a very difficult funding background. However, violent crime remains stubbornly high. Might the funding available for our police forces reflect levels of violent crime?

Photo of Mike Penning Mike Penning The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

One of the things we definitely want is for hon. Members, the police and crime commissioners and local communities to be part of the consultation, and my hon. Friend’s comments could well be part of that commentary.

Photo of Jack Dromey Jack Dromey Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

Recorded crime has risen in the west midlands and Northumbria and fallen in Surrey, yet West Midlands police and Northumbria police have been hit by Government cuts twice as hard as Surrey police. The Prime Minister now talks of fairness in one nation, but how can it be fair that the areas of highest need are the hardest hit by his Government?

Photo of Mike Penning Mike Penning The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

The funding reductions were the same across the country. We are making sure—I hope Her Majesty’s Opposition take part in this—that we look very carefully at the changes we are proposing to funding and the funding formula. I look forward to sitting with the hon. Gentleman, which he has not taken the time to do in all the time I have been the Minister for Policing, Crime and Criminal Justice, and talking about the funding formula that he goes on and on about.