The government has handed West Midlands Police another real terms cut in funding.

The force needs an extra £25.6 million to avoid shrinking any further, but has been told it will only be given £15.9 million by the Home Office.

Over the last 8 years West Midlands Police has lost more than 2,000 officers and £175 million has been taken from its budget.

The government has made it clear it expects PCCs to increase council tax. PCCs are currently able to increase it by £12 a year. They will be allowed to increase it by £24 for a Band D property.

Following initial analysis of the annual police funding announcement West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson, said: “West Midlands Police has faced cuts of £175 million since 2010, leading to over 2,000 police officers being lost during that period.

“Despite warm words over the last few months, this is once again a disappointing settlement that falls a long way short of what West Midlands Police needed from the government.  Government grants to West Midlands Police are falling in real terms and the government are piling the pressure on council taxpayers.

“Crime is rising and we require a significant boost in police officer numbers to tackle the problem.

“This government funding does not come anywhere near to covering what the force requires just to standstill. £25.6 million is needed to cover extra pension costs, government-set pay increases and rising fuel costs this year.

“At a time when living standards are being squeezed and our economic future is increasingly uncertain, the government has made it clear it expects PCCs to increase council tax.

“The government is shifting the burden of police funding onto local council tax payers, which will disproportionately help the wealthier, low crime areas such as Surrey who have a much bigger ability to raise council tax than the West Midlands.”

In 2018/19 West Midlands Police received £444.1 million from the government. In 2019/20 West Midlands Police is due to receive £460 million. To cover inflation, government-set pay increases and new pension costs West Midlands Police requires £25.6 million just to standstill. This settlement provides the force with only £15.9 million. It means that any further increases in funding, to maintain current services, must come from council tax payers.

Therefore this settlement is a real terms cut in government funding.

The government has made it clear it expects PCCs to increase council tax. PCCs are currently able to increase it by £12 a year. They will be allowed to increase it by £24. West Midlands Police charges £128.55 for a Band D council tax payer.

The PCC will begin his consultation on his budget and council tax precept before Christmas.

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