No evidence terror threat will subside as NPCC calls for funding changes

The Government should not throw money at policing but target new funding to deal with the enduring terror threat, increasing bureaucracy and the real term reductions in budgets, the national police lead for finance and resources has urged.

Jul 11, 2017

The Government should not throw money at policing but target new funding to deal with the enduring terror threat, increasing bureaucracy and the real term reductions in budgets, the national police lead for finance and resources has urged. Chief constables are due to meet this week to discuss the Government’s willingness to address “short-term funding issues”, but Chief Constable Dave Thompson believes the Home Office should instead look to put back money that is top-sliced from police budgets when public sector funding announcements are made in the autumn. Speaking to Police Professional, Mr Thompson said the Metropolitan Police Service and Greater Manchester Police will apply for short-term financial support from the Home Office for the cost of dealing with the Manchester Arena bombing, the Westminster and London Bridge attacks and the Grenfell fire disaster. The whole service is also burdened by the terror threat and new challenges. “The demand at the moment around this summer and the hot weather and the raised levels of security awareness of the public are putting a huge demand on most forces at the moment,” he said. “We’re not saying you need to throw money at us right now, because that won’t solve the issue. This is about the medium-term funding for policing.” He doubts the threat from terrorism will reduce any time soon: “I believe it will be enduring. I see no evidence in the current climate that the threat of terrorism will subside. I think the UK’s vulnerability to attacks of late has amplified that the threat will carry on.” Mr Thompson proposed the Government redirect elements of the police grant that are top sliced and go to other bodies, including the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and magistrates. “The issue on the IPCC is just a simple point that says if policing is getting smaller and the number of officers is dropping, I can’t logically see why more money would need to go into the body that investigates them. I know their remit has been widened, but there is a fundamental question as policing becomes more professional than ever: ‘Why would we want to spend more money on complaints?’” He added that £15 million taken out of the police’s core grant to reduce the impact on magistrates and the legal aid fund of changes to bail legislation could be better spent by forces that have had significant increases in costs as a result. “Every £1 million is 20 officers. I simply say that the money may not be huge, but we need to ensure that it is wisely spent.” Mr Thompson also called on the Government to change the way the Police Transformation Fund – due to rise to £175 million next year – operates. He added: “I think it’s important but the fund might be a little too big. There’s only so many programmes we can do nationally and I think now we have a good indication of the types of programmes we want to do, what we’re saying to the Government is: ‘Fund the programmes we need to do, don’t fund a big pot of money that people go to because I think some of that could go back to grant’. “The last few weeks have really stretched forces. What we’re saying to the Government right now is three things: One, you need to stabilise where we are because the current flat cash settlement means less money every year in real terms. We’re saying that there is still work to do on efficiency, and maybe the Government could look at how it’s spending some of its core grants that used to go to police forces but now go elsewhere. And there will be some areas where there should be some choice given to Government for some specific targeted investments.” Mr Thompson denied the service has taken its “foot off the gas” on reform after the Chancellor of the Exchequer cancelled proposed cuts of 25 or 40 per cent in 2015, an accusation levelled at it by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary after 2016’s efficiency inspections. “Our response to that level of cuts was to look at things like putting all of our PCSOs at risk with a view of making them redundant. So the type of thing th

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