Hartlepool MP writes to Home Secretary Sajid Javid calling for a fairer deal over police funding

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill joins colleagues across Teesside to write to the Home Secretary calling for a better funding deal.

Wednesday, 28th November 2018, 4:50 pm
Updated Wednesday, 28th November 2018, 4:55 pm
Mike Hill, Hartlepool MP

MPs from across the Cleveland Police area have written a letter to Home Secretary Sajid Javid asking for a fairer funding deal for policing.

The letter comes following an ongoing campaign by Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger for an increased investment for Cleveland Police, following eight years of government cuts.

Barry Coppinger

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It comes after the Mail reported that volunteers in the Foggy Furze area of Hartlepool said they have no option but to take to the streets in the middle of the night following cuts to police in the town.A BBC report also revealed there were no police officers in Hartlepool to respond to emergencies at one point on a Saturday night due to all those on duty deployed elsewhere including having to transport suspects to Middlesbrough.

Cleveland Police has launched a consultation on plans to close the Custody Suite at Hartlepool Police Station and transport suspects to be questioned in Middlesbrough when they are arrested.

The letter states: "We have raised the challenge of under-funding previously, in Parliament and elsewhere, and come together now to renew those concerns again directly with yourself.

"We saw the very concerning BBC national news piece on policing in Hartlepool last week, and the PCC and Chief Constable discussed the situation in Hartlepool with Mike Hill. We now know the situation highlighted in the BBC news piece, where Hartlepool at one point ran out of police response resources to deploy, is not unique to Hartlepool.

"Despite having some of the highest levels of victim-based crimes per head of population, Cleveland police has lost £39m – or 36% in real terms from its government grant over the last seven years. This has resulted in the loss of 500 police officers and 50 PCSOs since 2010, in the face of increasing demand generally and from additional and complex crimes such as historical child sexual abuse and cybercrime.

"The force currently records 163 crimes per day on average, with levels of violent crime increasing by 45% in the last 12 months. Reports from independent bodies such as the national Audit Office and the Home Affairs Select Committee have stated the case very clearly – if the tide doesn't turn now, police forces will struggle to deliver a service to keep the public safe.

"The Home Office must look urgently at their funding formula for policing, which has made Cleveland one of the most disadvantaged police forces in the country, and threatens their ability to protect the backbone of community safety, neighbourhood policing. "

The MPs also raise concerns of the impact or pay awards and pension rates, allocation of cash to national initiatives, and what they call 'perverse' grant-funding allocation formula for forces.

The letter adds: "It follows that we have three requests of the Home office and yourself.

"1. We believe the Home Office must review and recognise the police funding formula within the next 12 months, to allow Chief Constables and PCCs in areas like Cleveland to invest in the 500 police officers and 50 PCSOs lost over recent years – they are desperately needed to police our communities.

"2. We believe financial losses to local forces by top-slicing of the policing budget to grow other service initiatives nationally (as well as through un-funded pay awards and other policy initiatives) should be reinstated.

"3. Urgently on the “pensions gap" and other central pressures: we believe the Home Office, and the Government as a whole, should grant-fund policing in Cleveland and elsewhere for 2019/20 at a level to fully meet increasing costs of service provision. Hard pressed forces such as Cleveland ought not to suffer costs imposed from the Centre which are unfunded.

"We would be happy to meet with you to discuss further and can confirm the Police and Crime Commissioner and Chief Constable would be happy to also attend and join in those discussions. We look forward to hearing from you."