Police forces in England and Wales will need nearly £1.3bn extra between 2018 and 2020 to tackle crime, police and crime commissioners have said.
They attributed the need for more funding to the increasing quantity and complexity of crimes being committed, as well as the threat posed by terrorism. The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APPC) said an extra £440m would be required in 2018-19 and £845m more in the following financial year.
The extra money would pay for 5,000 more officers to deal with new types of crime, as well as an additional 1,100 armed police force members.
The plea comes after a sustained period of cuts to police funding since the Conservative party came to power in 2010. The government agreed to protect overall spending in the 2015 spending review but the way that money is allocated means some forces are likely to lose out.
“The police workforce has been reduced by nearly 19% over the last seven years and at a time when the population is growing and the sheer complexity of policing is increasing, it is clear that more funding is required if we are going to deliver the right level of service for the public,” said Paddy Tipping, the APCC’s finance deputy lead.
Tipping, the police and crime commissioner for Nottinghamshire, added: “This year, the police have had to respond to horrific terrorist acts and unprecedented levels of demand at our control rooms and, increasingly, we know that officers and staff, whose work we all value so greatly, have become stretched like never before.”
He said there was increased pressure on police to respond to crime reports while crime itself was becoming increasingly complex.
The APCC said it was responding to a Home Office request to it and the National Police Chiefs’ Council to stress-test the policing service. “We believe that a lack of investment will lead to increases in crime and a reduction of police and state legitimacy,” Tipping said on Sunday.
The APCC looked at the 43 territorial police forces in England and Wales. The question is devolved in Scotland and the Police Service of Northern Ireland has its own funding arrangement.
The APCC’s finance lead, Roger Hirst, said: “We welcome the opportunity that the Home Office has given us to make the case for a new settlement for policing. PCCs are now firmly of the view that the current settlement for policing, especially the flat cash arrangement, no longer ensures the resilience of police forces to respond to further increases in demand against the backdrop of the unprecedented shift in the national security environment.”
He acknowledged forces would need to become more efficient but said existing efforts did not leave much room for manoeuvre.
“Whilst the service continues to commit to further modernisation and efficiency, there are investments that need to be made now in order to ensure the service is able to meet the challenges we will all face,” Hirst said.
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