Chiefs threaten legal action over funding
31 October 2018
Police chiefs in England and Wales have announced that they will take legal action against the Government unless it backs down on plans to deduct hundreds of millions of pounds from their budget.
The decision was taken by the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) which according to news reports sent a formal letter to the Treasury saying it will seek a judicial review of the government’s proposals.
The dispute comes following the Treasury’s recalculation of the money each force needed to pay into the police pension scheme. This landed forces with a £420m bill, on top of the 19% cut in police funding since 2010.
In response to the news, PFEW National Chair John Apter said: “It’s good to see the police chiefs joining us in speaking out and taking action against the government – something I believe is long overdue.
"I fully support the chiefs call for investment however would hope that there were other ways of managing this other than cutting police numbers which are already at an all-time low.
“I do however wholeheartedly agree that the pensions deficit should not be funded out of existing force budgets.”
Earlier this month PFEW lodged legal proceedings against the government following their failure to act on police pay recommendations. A judicial review will now take place into the lawfulness of the Government’s decision to ignore the recommendations of its own Police Remuneration Review Body (PRRB) for two consecutive years.
John Apter continued: “It really is a sorry state of affairs when the most senior figures in policing along with ourselves feel there is no other option than to take legal action against a government who continue to turn a blind eye to the fact that the service is at breaking point.
“Since 2010 we have lost more than 21,300 officers– that’s a drop of 15% and the lowest number of police officers since 1996. Policing is becoming purely reactive as it continues to be decimated by cuts.
“The budget announcement was just another example of the utter contempt shown by our government – this was a prime opportunity for the Prime Minister and the Chancellor to throw police a lifeline and inject critical funding into a service that is on its knees. But instead, they prioritise and significantly invest in potholes rather than police.
“We have been saying for a long time that the government is putting the safety of the public in jeopardy and now police leaders are saying it too - but how much more is it going to take?
"The government needs to wake up and end the unprecedented cuts suffocating the police service because at the end of the day it’s not just police officers suffering but the public too.”
The Chancellor said that the Home Secretary will make an announcement on the Police Funding Settlement for the next financial year in December.
The Prime Minster, the Home Secretary and the Policing Minister have all previously suggested that the issue of police funding will be addressed in the Comprehensive Spending Review which is expected to take place in spring next year.