MP highlights ‘urgent need’ for police funding review to spare taxpayers from ‘disproportionate’ costs
PUBLISHED: 09:16 08 February 2018 | UPDATED: 09:16 08 February 2018
Suffolk taxpayers are being forced to pay over the odds for policing due to an unfair funding formula, which has left the system at “breaking point”, an MP has warned.
Waveney MP Peter Aldous spoke in the debate on the Police Grant yesterday (Wednesday) when he urged the Government to review its funding “without further delay”.
Mr Aldous highlighted “significant pressures” facing Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore, which saw him add 6.8 per cent to his share of the council tax precept.
“Suffolk Constabulary is the force with the highest case load per officer in the country, at 150 per year, and yet it receives one of the lowest funding settlements,” he added.
“A disproportionately high percentage of the county’s police funding is received from the council tax precept, which at 42.6pc is one of the highest in the country.”
Mr Aldous highlighted specific challenges facing Suffolk police including the “county lines” problem, involving drug gangs and also said its older population raised particular issues.
He said Suffolk had produced the “highest proportional savings” of all in the county. But he also noted increasing crimes including domestic abuse and serious sex offences.
Mr Aldous pointed to the £2.15m cost of searching for the missing RAF airman Corrie McKeague, who disappeared on a night out in Bury St Edmunds He urged the Home Office to reimburse Suffolk police this cost.
The MP also highlighted last week’s ruling which prevented Suffolk police from appealing the decision it should pay for the cost of match day policing of Ipswich Town’s home games. Against this backdrop, he said there was an “urgent need” for the police funding formula to be reviewed.
“It’s no longer reasonable for such a high percentage of the policing budget to come from Suffolk county taxpayers,” he said.
“The situation needs to be addressed as soon as possible and I urge the government to instigate the funding review without further delay and as quickly as possible.”
Mr Passmore thanked Mr Aldous. “I was disappointed with the Home Office settlement and that is why our campaign for a fairer funding settlement must continue,” he said.
Policing Minister Nick Hurd said the proposals would increase police funding by £450m.