Making the public pay more for policing is ‘blatantly unfair’
13 December 2018
National Chair John Apter
The news that the Government is planning to plug the funding gap in policing by increasing local taxes has been slammed by the Police Federation of England and Wales.
National Chair John Apter (pictured right) welcomed the extra cash but insisted the Government ‘had to be honest about what it actually means.’ He said: “The truth is that this appears to be a quick fix. A sticking plaster solution that injects extra money in the short term, but one which sees the burden falling unfairly on local council tax payers.
“They are passing the buck of funding the police service to the public by doubling the council tax precept that Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) are allowed to charge.”
Mr Apter insisted that any extra cash raised this way should be strictly ring-fenced for local policing. “Every penny of this extra council tax precept must go into local policing to help keep communities safe,” he said. But he accused the Government of ignoring the ‘bigger elephant in the room.’
Today Policing Minister Nick Hurd announced that police funding would benefit from an extra £970 million for 2019/20 which includes £153 million towards the police pension deficit. It also allows for £509m if every PCC raises their council tax precept by £2 a month, or £24 a year. And there is another £161m from central Government funding towards the police service.
Mr Apter said: “It is good that the Government has recognised that the pension cap breach was of their own making and the other funding will give forces some breathing space.
“But it is their austerity policies which have seen police budgets slashed by 19% in real terms. This is why policing is in crisis and our members are on their knees trying to keep up with the rising tide of crime with nearly 22,000 fewer officers.
“The reality is that this new funding won’t lead to hundreds more officers on the streets and PCCs and Chief Constables have to be honest about that. This is a standstill policing budget – it will plug the gap to a degree but householders are unlikely to experience a tangible improvement in their area.
“What is needed now is long-term financial investment in the service to pull it back from the brink so that we can start being more proactive again, ploughing more resources back into things that matter to the public, like neighbourhood policing and the frontline, and building better relationships to keep local communities safe.”