"Insult to injury" - Bob Jones responds to police funding announcement

Speaking about the further cuts to West Midlands Police announced by the Home Office, Bob Jones said,

"Today's police funding announcement is bad news for West Midlands Police.  The government has imposed more cuts than expected, and we have been hit harder than other forces.  We were expecting a cut of £19 million in 2014-15, and today's announcement means another £4 million has been additionally taken, making a total cut of £23 million.

"The additional cut has come from top slicing the police grant and the way the government's use of funding "damping" means we don't get our fair share of national funding, and instead subsidise other forces.  We now get over £44 million less a year than the national police funding formula says we need.  West Midlands Police faces the worst funding position in the country by a large margin.

"As a result, relatively low crime areas see their community safety funding topped up while the West Midlands suffers.   Community safety funding pays for local schemes that address local priorities and needs.  Despite these unfair cuts from central government, I have committed to maintain funding in 2014-15 at the level for 2013-14 but the cut means the shortfall will have to be made up from elsewhere in the policing budget.

"The additional top slicing of police funding adds insult to injury and causes deep concern.

"All forces are being made to pay for the direct entry Superintendents scheme when only two forces have expressed an interest in recruiting senior officers this way.  Thus an overwhelming number of forces are being made to pay for an expensive and unnecessary scheme that will be used by a minority

"The £50 million Innovation Scheme seems designed to provide incentives for police collaboration which has ground to a halt since the introduction of police and crime commissioners.  Again, its benefits will not be evenly spread, as the funding will be of more value to smaller and less efficient forces, rather than large forces like the West Midlands.

"I remain opposed to cutting police budgets to spend more on the Independent Police Complaints Commission.  This is throwing good money after bad, when instead there needs to be a new organisation that has the credibility to investigate serious complaints against the police.

"Finally, I am very concerned by what appears to be a very strange plan to nearly double HM Inspectorate of Constabulary's inspection budget.  If this is as it seems, it is very odd to be taking money from the direct provision of policing to pay for more inspections and make HMIC more expensive instead, particularly when not only did the government promise to make inspection leaner and reduce bureaucracy, but also reduced the responsibilities of HMIC (by removing their power to inspect PCCs, for example).

"I am incredulous that this is what the Home Secretary calls "protecting" the police budget."

Commenting on the Home Office financial settlement, Chief Constable Chris Sims said:

"West Midlands Police has faced significant financial challenges in the past few years but continues to serve and protect the people of the West Midlands. I'm proud that my officers and staff tackle criminality in this region with passion and pride.

"It's disappointing that once again West Midlands Police is facing deeper savings than other forces because of the way the national funding arrangements are set up.

"The force continues to innovate and I am looking forward to opening recruitment for new constables and working with a private partner next year to develop new ways of working especially in the area of technology."