Anger as police facing £1.8m funding cut in next year's government grant

Barry CoppingerBarry Coppinger
Barry Coppinger
Police are facing a £1.8m 'real terms' cut following the latest Government funding announcement, says Cleveland's Police and Crime Commissioner.

Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland, Barry Coppinger, has spoken out in response to the Government’s announcement on the Police Grant for 2018/19.

Mr Coppinger said: “I am deeply concerned at the implications of this latest real-term cut to police funding announced by the Government.

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“The grant settlement does not provide the funding to allow recruitment of a single additional officer, indeed it seriously threatens the current numbers we have.

“The funding standstill of the Government grant fails to address the reality of the 2% pay rise award, inflation and other cost increases faced by forces. For Cleveland this represents a real term cut of £1.8m - the equivalent of 50-60 police officer posts.

“This follows on from £39m cut from our budget over the past seven years resulting in the loss of over 500 officers.

“As a result this settlement means the precept would have to rise by the full £12 a year on Band D properties allowed by the Government simply to maintain our current

level of service.

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“As with other forces, our neighbourhood police teams and other key areas of service have come under severe pressure and it is only through finding efficiencies throughout the organisation that we have been able to maintain the current levels.

“In communities across Cleveland people tell me of their admiration for the work of our local police officers and their concerns at how the Government cuts over recent years have impacted on their numbers. The Chief Constable and I have relayed this message loud and clear to the Prime Minister, to the Home Secretary and to the Policing Minister and we will continue to do so.

“The Government appears to be seeking to shift the cost of policing from general taxation to local precept. This is grossly unfair as it disadvantages areas like Cleveland where the policing challenges can be high but council tax base is lower than in other, more affluent areas.

“I will now be working with senior officers to go through the budget options in some detail between now and the end of January.

“I will also be consulting with the public and key stakeholders before recommending any proposed precept increase to the police and crime panel in February."