‘Home Office out of touch about the needs of policing’

11 September 2018

Chair John Apter

PFEW Chair, John Apter

Today’s damning report from the National Audit Office reinforces what the Police Federation has been saying for some time.

The report – Financial sustainability of police forces in England and Wales 2018 – makes clear that the total funding to police forces, from central government and council tax, has fallen by 19% in real terms since 2010-11. Consequently officer and support staff numbers are down 18%, by almost 45,000 in the same period.

John Apter, Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, comments:

“This report echoes what we have been saying for some time and must serve as a wake-up call to the government. For too long it has turned a blind eye to the crisis in policing that has occurred on its watch and is of its own making.

“We’ve seen funding reduced across the board without consideration for the growing list of demands on police time, or the ability of forces to raise funds locally through council tax. Now we hear that the Home Office is so detached from reality that it does not know if policing is financially sustainable – and lacks a clear picture of the funding levels that are required to maintain the essential policing service that the public has a right to expect.

“Since 2010 we have lost almost 22,000 police officers and of that figure 80 per cent have gone from the frontline. Neighbourhood policing has all but vanished and, combined with the closure of hundreds of police station front counters means it is not surprising that more people are reporting that they rarely see police officers. This is unsustainable.

“The responsibility of any government is to secure the safety of its public – for this government to sleep walk into this very predictable crisis is shameful.”

The report highlights:

- Total funding of police forces has fallen by 19% in real terms since 2010-11
- The total police workforce fell by 18% from a peak of 244,497 in 2010 to 199,752 in March 2018
- The proportion of crimes which resulted in a charge or summons has fallen from 15% to 9% between March 2015 and March of this year.