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Policing

Part of Opposition Day — [9th Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 5:38 pm on 4th November 2015.

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Photo of Ranil Jayawardena Ranil Jayawardena Conservative, North East Hampshire 5:38 pm, 4th November 2015

I am pleased to see in my constituency that police reform is working. Not only in my constituency, but across the country, crime is down by more than 30%, as a result of the police becoming ever more efficient. For example, strategic alliances between the Hampshire and Thames Valley forces have resulted in the sharing of many specialist units. My hon. Friend Mrs Drummond also mentioned the sharing of back-office services with the county council. Those are all ways in which the police can become more efficient and protect the front line. They are also doing that through procurement. Some £200 million has already been saved on procurement, and many sources suggest that there is about £300 million more to go. This is a strong direction of travel, ensuring that we protect the front line, as has happened in Hampshire and as is happening elsewhere; it is protecting the roles that people want to see, while ensuring that the taxpayer saves money.

I am pleased that the funding formula is being reviewed because it is currently unfair. The fact is that a new simplified model, which is based on that review, will replace the current, complex, opaque and out-of-date model. The data on which the current model is based is from 2003-04. Indeed, the model even includes some information from the 2001 census. It is chronically out of date, and it is time for a change.

Yesterday, at the Home Affairs Committee, chief constables and police commissioners told us of the disparity that exists between the different police forces. One point that came through very strongly was the need to reflect the cost of rural policing. It is important that the Home Office considers that as part of the consultation. Further, and this point has been made by Members from both sides of the House, there is a lack of parity between different forces in the amounts that they get from council tax and from the central Government grant. That is why the funding formula changes will be felt more greatly in some parts of the country, but it is important that that is taken in the context of the efficiency savings that could be made.