Chief's attack on police funding

A Chief Constable has launched a scathing attack on the government for its unfair funding system which has resulted in the force missing out on more than £14m over the last few years.

A chief constable has launched a scathing attack on the government for its unfair funding system which has resulted in the force missing out on more than £14m over the last few years.

The cash crisis has meant Cambridgeshire police now has among the lowest number of officers per 100,000 population compared to any other force, because of the way the government allocates its central funding.

Julie Spence said a squeeze on funding based on out-of-date and inaccurate population figures had meant there had been no extra cash for officers in the past five years.

Cambridgeshire is served by 183 officers per 100,000 population compared to the national average of 266.

Now in a bid to address the problem, Mrs Spence is spearheading a campaign and has commissioned a report on the increasing population changes in Cambridgeshire to show how much extra work officers have to deal with as a result of the shortfall.

She will also be calling on ministers to compensate the force for its funding shortfall and inviting home secretary Jacqui Smith to visit the county to see for herself the scale of change.

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The new report by the police shows that there will be around 94,200 extra people in Cambridgeshire by 2016 and, of those, 69,000 will be European migrants.

She said: "We've been short-changed for a number of years, losing money as the population continues to grow. The profile of the county has changed dramatically and this simply isn't taken into account when the government allocates funding.

"We now deal with people from many different countries, speaking more than 90 different languages. While the economic benefits of growth are clear, we need to maintain the basic pubic services infrastructure, which means increasing the number of officers we have."

She added: "We could achieve much more if the discredited funding formula was removed and we received additional funding for around 25 officers a year between now and 2016, when the official population will jump more than 12pc."

Keith Walters, chairman of the police authority, said: "We just want fair treatment.

"Cambridgeshire is changing, policing challenges are more complex and ministers and officials need to think about the impact this is having."

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