Key demands:

  • An extra £42.2 million to cover inflation and increase officer numbers by 500
  • Reversal of government’s decision for forces to increase pension contributions that will see the budget squeezed by £22.5 million
  • A commitment that funding is targeted at where the threats are highest

The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson has set out the key demands of West Midlands Police ahead of the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget on Monday 29th October.

Top of the list is more funding for West Midlands Police. The force has faced cuts of £175 million since 2010.

For this to be a successful budget for police services like West Midlands Police we need to see increased funding, not just a cash freeze. The PCC has  written to the Chancellor and explained that to stand still West Midlands Police requires £17 million to cover inflation and nationally mandated pay increases. In addition a further £25.2 million would allow the force to increase officer numbers by 500 and get back to 7,000 police officers. In total £42.2 million is required for the force.

The PCC also believes the government should reverse its position on increasing pension contributions from forces that will see West Midlands Police unexpected lose an £22.5 million and potentially see recruitment halt and officer numbers fall even further to 6,000 officers, from a peak of 8,626 in 2010.
 
The PCC also wants the government to commit to ensuring funding goes to the areas that need it most. The  National Audit Office recently highlighted that the cuts West Midlands Police have faced (24%) have been more than twice as hard by the cuts than forces such as leafy, low crime Surrey (11%). The PCC believes that should be reversed and funding levels should be matched to the demands areas face.
 
The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson has said,
“The government needs to take action at the budget and give forces like West Midlands Police the resources we need to keep people safe.
 
“I think an extra 500 officers would make a huge difference to the safety of the region. I call on the government to match their warm words with real action.
 
“As well as additional funding, the government also needs to reverse its damaging changes to employer contributions on pensions. If not,at least 450 officer posts will be at risk at a time when everyone accepts they need to rise.
 
“I am investing in preventative measures, but these pale into insignificance compared to the huge cuts to other preventative services and the loss of officers we have faced since 2010. There is a real opportunity for the government to deliver on its responsibility for public safety.
 
“I have written to the Chancellor and made the case directly to the Home Secretary in recent weeks. I hope the government takes note and delivers the resources West Midlands Police needs at the budget.
 
“Failure to act by the government will mean that officer numbers will fall, meaning burglaries will continue to rise and the wave of violent crime that has swept our streets will continue.”

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