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Merseyside Police Funding — [Sir Edward Leigh in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:42 pm on 19th February 2019.

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Photo of Victoria Atkins Victoria Atkins The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, Minister for Women 3:42 pm, 19th February 2019

There is still funding from central Government. We are concentrating on the direct funding formula for the force, but there are other ways in which police forces receive money to target particular needs in their communities. For example, with the issue of serious organised crime, which has been raised today, I am delighted that Andy Cooke, the chief constable, is in fact the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead on serious organised crime. He brings his expertise to that role.

Through the funding settlement, there is a national grant of £90 million to tackle serious and organised crime. Regarding the local area, I think Maria Eagle said that there was not a penny being put towards serious organised crime—I hope she will forgive me if I have misquoted her, but it was something along those lines. We are funding a serious organised crime community co-ordinator in Merseyside and Cheshire, as one of five pilot areas with a specific focus, and through this pilot programme we are looking to increase significantly our focus on diverting people away from serious organised crime and on building resilience.

In addition, the North West regional organised crime unit is providing specialist serious organised crime policing capabilities and advice to its six host forces, which include Merseyside. We want very much to help local PCC funding across those forces by supplementing their funding through core grant funding, as we did last year. The hon. Member for Garston and Halewood specifically raised the point about cyber-crime. The North West ROCU has been allocated £434,000 of specific funding for cyber protect and prevent officers, and an international standards officer, so there is funding from sources other than the grant.