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The government has been told to stop “messing around” and bring forward a new fit for purpose police funding formula as a matter of urgency.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster, is doing all he can to fight for fair funding for West Midlands Police, but the government’s “time wasting” is leaving the force facing a £27m budget deficit in the next financial year.

He said the force was having to make tough decisions on cuts and highlighted that despite the so-called uplift, the force still had 800 fewer police officers and 500 fewer PCSOs than it did in 2010. In addition, the failure to implement the existing funding formula in full, costs West Midlands Police £40 million a year – the equivalent of 800 police officers.

The PCC has written to Policing Minister, Chris Philp setting out the “extreme concern” he has about the way the government funds West Midlands Police, saying the decade-old, out of date funding formula is a matter of “extreme” concern.

He said: “I have written to the Minister, urging him to call a halt to the time wasting and messing around, to get a grip, show some leadership and bring forward a reformed funding formula, so as to deliver fair funding for West Midlands Police as a matter of urgency.

“It is deeply regrettable, that the government is determined to continue to pursue its strategy of requiring the people of the West Midlands to pay more local Council Tax, for less local policing – by effectively mandating an increase in the Council Tax policing precept, in the middle of a cost of living crisis.

“The harsh reality is that the government has provided us with a stark choice. Increase the Council Tax police precept or face yet further cuts to policing.”

He added: “I will seek assurances that any new funding formula, adequately and properly takes account of the complexity of delivering policing in the West Midlands, that include our young population, above average levels of deprivation, significant crime severity and other factors, that place significant demands on the police force.

“The investment in the so-called police officer uplift programme, over the previous three financial years, has been welcome, but the uplift programme’s baseline distribution only returned 1,218 of the 2,221 police officers that West Midlands Police lost between 2010 and 2019. WMP was therefore still missing 1,000 officers, compared to 2010 levels, as a result of the core programme. 

“The net effect of this is that, when it comes to our police officers, there is no levelling up for West Midlands Police or the people of the West Midlands.”

The PCC is currently holding a public consultation into the council tax precept for 2024/25 – have your say here.

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