West Midlands Police Commissioner Bob Jones' response to the Chancellor's Autumn Statement
Statement by Bob Jones, West Midlands Police and Crime
"The government's decision to cut Home Office funding by a
further 1% in 2013-14, and potentially 2% the year after, could
have a serious impact on police funding. If the 1% cut in
Home Office funding becomes a further 1% cut in funding for West
Midlands Police, we could be trying to find up to an additional £10
million in cuts next year, as well as the £24 million we already
have to save. The threat that we may have to cut the budget
by £30 million or more next year is a huge challenge.
I am disappointed that the Chancellor has not protected policing
from further reductions, as has been the case for defence,
education and health spending. The West Midlands has already
been dealt cuts of £126 million over four years. If the
reductions to Home Office budgets are passed on to police forces
over the next two years, the saving target rises to £136 million if
next year's cuts are passed on to us, and could reach £150 million
over the four years if the second year's cuts are passed to us
too. Police numbers have fallen by over a thousand already,
and civilian staff numbers by over 1200. Further cuts could
jeopardise plans to restart recruitment, or end compulsory
retirement of officers.
The Chancellor's decision makes it even more important that
formula damping is not applied to police funding, or is at least
relaxed. This year, unfair application of formula damping
will see the West Midlands short changed by over £23 million.
If formula damping is applied to changes to PCSO funding and
community safety budgets, we lose another million - money that is
being spent in the West Midlands that instead will be transferred
to low crime, wealthier areas.
The decision on formula damping will be announced with the
details of police budgets on 19 December. It is vital that
residents contact the Home Secretary and demand a Fair Deal for
Policing in the West Midlands. You can also contact your MP,
or even just "like" our Facebook page www.facebook.com/fairdealforpolicing."