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Police funding: ministers are not aware of the consequences of budget cuts

Police funding: ministers are not aware of the consequences of budget cuts

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Ministers do not know what impact the cutbacks have had on the police, according to the British regulator on government spending.

According to the national court, the Ministry of the Interior does not know whether the police system in England and Wales is "financially sustainable".

It calls the approach of police financing & # 39; ineffective & # 39; and & # 39; loosen & # 39; the changing demands of officers.

According to a spokesperson for the Ministry of the Interior, the department had carried out a thorough assessment of the pressure of the police last year.

The Ministry of the Interior, however, had not even predicted the effect of losing 44,000 police officers and staff since 2010, according to the NAO.

Since September 2009 – the last series of Home Office figures for conservatives in the government came – there is a cut of 22,424 police officers.

There were 126,252 police officers in England and Wales in September 2017, according to the latest figures.

Historically there have been fewer officers – with 123,474 in 2001; 125,453 in 1991; and 116,544 in 1981, for example.

Officer numbers grew during the Labor government from 2002, with a peak in 2009.

The report found:

  • It took 18 days to charge a violation for the year ending March 2018 – four days longer than for the year ending March 2016
  • The number of arrests dropped to 14 arrests per 1000 inhabitants in 2016-17, a decrease of 17 per 1,000 residents in 2014-15
  • Since 2010 there have been fewer tests on the breathalyser, there are indications for taking fixed fines and convictions for drug trafficking and possession
  • 33% of the victims were not happy with the reaction of the police in the year ending March 2018, an increase of 29% in the year ending March 2016

With police commissioner Cressida Dick, at the annual police enforcement organization conference, the force said "unprecedented challenges" and noted that some officers are "working longer and harder".

"This is not a service that needs to be reformed, this is a service that needs support and needs resources … the NAO report shows this," she said.

Chief Durham, Mike Barton, said that the decisions of the Ministers of the Interior regarding the financing of the police were "sometimes in the hands of the Treasury".

"I actually think that the cuts in 2010 were the wake-up call that the police station had to say:" Come, spend your money wisely, "said Mr. Barton to BBC Breakfast.

But he said that since then there has been a "constant tension" with "austerity dragging out".

Mark Burns-Williamson, police and crime commissioner for West Yorkshire, told BBC Radio 4's Today program that the report emphasized what other PCCs had been saying for some time.

Firstly, that the total amount of funding for police work is "not enough" – and secondly that the financing formula is "not really suitable for the purpose", leading to "dishonesty and differences" between different areas.

Home Affairs Select Commission President Yvette Cooper said that MPs had repeatedly heard that police services were overburdened and called the report "very accurate" and "rejecting".

The Labor Member of Parliament said to the BBC that it showed an "irresponsible approach of the Ministry of the Interior" to "make substantial cuts" in the police budget "without having any idea of ​​the impact of these cuts".

The NAO report comes as Minister of Internal Affairs Sajid Javid prepares for a speech for police superintendents in which he will say that the police must be equipped for a changing landscape.

On Monday the leader of the superintendents association warned that the service was on the verge of a crisis.

Police services in England and Wales are funded through a £ 12.3 billion combination of a central grant to each police and crime commissioner, as well as additional funds collected locally through the municipal tax and one-off grants for special projects.

The NAO says that the amount that comes from the government in real terms has dropped by 30% since 2010-11.

Check the crime in your region (figures 2014 – 2017)

Tom McDonald of the NAO said that the Ministry of the Interior does not understand "the nature of the question" with which the police are confronted.

He said that the financing formula used to allocate money was "outdated" three years after the Ministry of the Interior told Parliament that the formula was not effective.

"It is unlikely that the money will go to the right places," he said. "We are really concerned about it."

Analysis

By Dominic Casciani, correspondent for internal affairs

This report of the national expenditure watchdog paints a picture of a service in the front line of public protection that is under heavy pressure – but no one in the government is entirely sure how much pressure it really is under. The evaluators said that although there was no force on the point of financial failure, the stress was clear.

Two years ago, officials took four days longer to tax suspects – an indication of work pressure rather than increasing crime – and there is less "proactive work", such as motorways stopping with dangerous drivers, tests of alcohol testers and convictions for drug possession .

The rolling national crime investigation has charted the growing dissatisfaction among the police – and many communities have campaigned against the loss of local austerity measures. Two cities – St Albans and Bath – no longer have a special police station with a reception.

A Home Office plan to revise the police financing formula, to distribute more honestly, was shut down after the general elections of June 2017.

The NAO said that individual forces had developed their own ways of predicting the demand for their services, but the Ministry of the Interior itself had "no overarching strategy for police work".

But a spokesman for the Interior Ministry questioned some of the findings of the NAO – he said it was "a strategic direction" and carried out a significant review of police pressure last year.

"Our decision to authorize locally responsible police and crime commissioners to make decisions using their local expertise does not mean that we do not understand the requirements of police forces," the spokesman said.

"The report recognizes the strengths of PCC & # 39; s and chief commissioners leading to day-to-day police cases, including financial sustainability.

"We remain committed to work closely with the police and achieve an increase of £ 460 million in general police funding in 2018/19, including increased funding for local policing through municipal taxes," said the spokesperson.