WMP report reveals £3.3 million cost of Covid-19
West Midlands Police expects the cost of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic to have a £3.3 million impact on the force, according to a report presented to the police and crime commissioner (PCC).
Assistant Chief Constable Vanessa Jardine says around £1 million has been spent on purchasing and distributing personal protective equipment (PPE) for officers and staff. The force has also had to adapt a custody block in Wolverhampton to safely detain those believed to be infected with the virus.
Further costs have been incurred for force IT workers who needed to configure 600 laptop computers and mobile devices to enable police staff to be able to work from home.
Additional expenditure for the coming weeks is expected to include £1.8 million for IT equipment, £30,000 for additional cleaning and £70,000 to cover the cost of police officers and staff changing roles.
The figures were contained in reports on the impacts on crime, presented at an online meeting of the West Midlands Strategic Policing and Crime Board.
While the Government is expected to provide additional funding to police to cover the costs of PPE, the reports says it is “unclear” whether all other costs relating to the pandemic will be covered.
At the same time, the force has lost an estimated £480,000 income due to officers no longer being deployed at Birmingham Airport and football matches.
Other reports presented at the meeting showed that residential burglary has fallen by 35.6 per cent compared to last year, while robbery is down by almost 60 per cent.
However, domestic violence is 9.9 per cent higher than last year and West Midlands Police believes hidden offences will increase with third-party reporting less likely due to the isolation.
Speaking after the meeting, West Midlands PCC David Jamieson told Birmingham Live: “Thus far West Midlands Police has had to spend around £1 million pounds to adjust to deal with coronavirus, with the vast majority going on PPE.
“I have raised this large cost [with the Government] and I hope they take note to ensure that it doesn’t have a knock-on impact on police resources in the long term. At the same time as having to increase spending, we are also losing out on income from other sources. We would have expected to receive around £480,000 more in April, from sources such as airport and football policing.
“Crime is down significantly, but that does not mean it has disappeared. Crime always find a way to mutate and challenge us. During this pandemic that is no different.
“I am particularly worried about domestic abuse, that I why I have funded a large campaign targeting advertising at the region’s supermarkets to ensure people get the support they need. I am also pleased that in just a short period over 400 offenders were arrested for the crime.”