Following the Chancellor’s November Spending Review and the glee with which Chancellor Osbourne informed Parliament that there would be no Police budget cuts. I wrote to the West Midlands Police & Crime Commissioner in the following way.
Statement from PCC Jamieson – 2/12/2015
Thanks to the concerted efforts of the media and politicians from across the political spectrum, our message – that West Midlands Police deserves fairer funding – has been loud and clear.
Despite all our efforts it was, nevertheless, widely anticipated that the government’s latest Spending Review would confirm the need for further police efficiencies.
That was certainly the expectation when I joined chief constables and other police and crime commissioners in Manchester, for our annual joint conference.
At 12:30, a large group of us watched the Chancellor’s statement. The mood, as you might imagine, was sombre as in recent months most of us had been expecting cuts of between 20 and 25%.
So when the announcement came, towards the end of the Chancellor’s statement, that there would be no further policing cuts, I can tell you there was genuine disbelief.
Whilst on the face of it the news would appear to be extremely favourable, I am a great believer in checking the facts and the small print before getting carried away with the general euphoria of the Chancellor’s announcement.
We need to carefully examine his statement to get the full details and truly understand what they mean for our funding. Properly funding counter terrorism work is crucial.
However, which plays a crucial role in keeping people safe and also contributes to counter terrorism work.
Since the Chancellor’s statement, I have spoken to the Permanent Secretary at the Home Office who confirmed to me that there is only one policing budget. I am seeking reassurance that increased funding for counter terrorism will not have to come from local forces.
The government announced plans for a new technology fund. This could also be taken out of existing policing budgets, meaning that efficient forces like the West Midlands end up funding less efficient forces.
The Chancellor’s announcement does not change the fact that West Midlands Police has been hit harder than any other force in the country. We have already suffered cuts of £130 million since 2010 and we have had to make very difficult choices as a result.
We will be examining the fine print of the statement and the funding allocation for West Midlands Police, details of which will be released in December, will provide us with more news. Until then, we cannot truly claim that there has been a victory for common sense.