Fighting crime in Suffolk is now in 'serious jeopardy' due to unfair funding, Tim Passmore warns
PUBLISHED: 08:36 28 September 2017
Suffolk Constabulary's ability to tackle crime and protect residents is now in "serious jeopardy" after years of unfair government funding, Tim Passmore warned last night.
Suffolk’s police and crime commissioner (PCC) issued the exclusive comments to the EADT after lobbying police minister Nick Hurd yesterday over the financial pressures which continue to grip the force.
It has been warned nationally that forces are at breaking point despite making huge savings amid cuts. Forces are also worried that the government’s funding shake-up could reduce budgets.
Mr Passmore, joined by Deputy Chief Constable Steve Jupp, told Mr Hurd that Suffolk has the country’s highest workload, with 150 cases per officer per year. It is 132 in Norfolk. They argued that if Suffolk received the same level of funding as Norfolk pro rata, its grant would be £3.5 million higher. The total budget is £121.8m.
Mr Passmore said: “I am not seeking to be alarmist but the ability of Suffolk Constabulary to deliver an effective service, keeping communities safe, and maintain public confidence is in serious jeopardy.
“This is due largely to financial pressure caused by the current Home Office funding regime, which for years has had an inbuilt bias against large rural counties like Suffolk.”
Key issues raised by the PCC to Mr Hurd included: fairer funding settlement to at least match Norfolk; funding to cover any pay rise above 1%; financial reserves not being further depleted; allowing the budget to obtain the full benefit from the increased tax base; cessation of the reduction in capital grant funding allowances.
Mr Passmore said he was concerned over the government’s recognition of Suffolk’s “crucial strategic national assets”. He said: “To explain this to the minister was extremely useful. I just hope it will make a difference.”
It comes amid a recent surge in violent crime in Suffolk and a Suffolk Police Federation warning that officer numbers have fallen by 200 since 2005, down to 1,070.
Mr Hurd, who also met with frontline Suffolk police officers, said: “This meeting will help inform (our) engagement with PCCs and police forces across the country on the changing nature of demand on police resources.”
The government has not commented on its new police funding formula, first scrapped in 2016, since the general election.