Beds Police still faces slashes to its funding despite a government U-turn on police budget cuts, PCC Olly Martins has warned.
During his Autumn Statement delivered in Parliament yesterday, Chancellor George Osborne announced that expected cutbacks to the national policing budget would not go ahead.
Many welcomed the move but Bedfordshire police and crime commissioner Olly Martins has poured cold water over the notion that it is good news for his force.
He believes that increased spending on counter-terrorism, armed policing and IT investments will be funded from the existing police budget– meaning that the 43 police forces across the country will still get a smaller slice of the cake.
Mr Martins said: “The Chancellor marched us up to the top of the hill with his suggestion in the summer that policing would face cuts somewhere in the region of 25-40% and of course I am relieved that the government was persuaded cuts on this scale were a really bad idea, particularly following the Paris attacks.
“However, we need to be clear that Mr. Osborne has not marched us all the way back down the hill again because the Bedfordshire Police budget is still likely to be cut by up to 16% over the next four years.”
He added: “We will know more just before Christmas when the Home Office announces provisional grant allocations to police forces, but I suspect that by then the Chancellor’s words about protecting police funding will ring a bit hollow in Bedfordshire.”
When addressing policing budget in his statement, Mr Osborne asserted that ‘security starts at home’.
He added: “I have had representations from the shadow Home Secretary that police budgets should be cut by 10%, but now is not the time for further police cuts.
“Now is the time to back our police and give them the tools do the job.
“The police protect us, and we are going to protect the police.”