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Police Grant

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:50 pm on 22nd February 2017.

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Photo of Kevan Jones Kevan Jones Labour, North Durham 2:50 pm, 22nd February 2017

My hon. Friend makes a good point. I served on the Committee for the Policing and Crime Bill, which introduced the welcome step of trying to ensure that we do not keep people with mental health issues in police cells. She also makes the good point that achieving that aim is reliant on there being places of safety for them. In some areas, that might be a hospital bed. We need to develop places of safety at local level, so that people are not left in police cars or anywhere else. Again, this is about funding. As I was saying a minute ago, we cannot look at policing in isolation, and joined-up strategies can save money. There is an issue about money being saved, but this must also be about the better provision of services.

Durham has an outstanding police force that is doing a first-class job despite the horrendous cuts that have been inflicted on it, but it cannot take any more. I would urge the Minister, if he is listening, to listen to these points about the new funding formula. Forces such as Durham, which have gone through a lot of pain and change, need to be recognised for the efficiencies and steps they have taken. The realities of areas such as mine need to be taken into consideration. This includes the large number of band A properties, which means that local authorities are unable to raise the precept adequately. If that does not happen, more pain will be added, given the cuts that have already taken place. In finishing, I would just like to say this: do not believe what the Minister is saying today. This settlement is a cut in police services to our nation, and people should recognise that.