Taxpayers to shell out more than £3.5 million extra to fund policing in Bedfordshire

Police Federation says current funding model is a "postcode lottery"

Thursday, 22nd July 2021, 4:15 pm

Council tax payers in Bedfordshire will have to shell out more than £3.5 million extra to pay for policing in Bedfordshire this year, figures reveal.

Home Office data shows £49.2 million in funding for Bedfordshire Police will come from council tax bills in 2021-22 – £3.7 million (eight per cent) more than last year's £45.5 million.

A further £80 million will come from central government – up seven per cent compared to 2020-21.

Home Office data shows £49.2 million in funding for Bedfordshire Police will come from council tax bills in 2021-22

Across England and Wales, a combined funding pot of £15.9 billion has been agreed for the current financial year – a 4.5 per cent real terms rise since last year.

But the Police Federation of England and Wales wants to see a multi-year funding plan implemented to stop forces operating "hand to mouth" through yearly settlements.

This is the fifth consecutive year in which police funding has increased in real terms, following a decline between 2010-11 and 2016-17.

It means funding is now only at a similar level to that seen in the year to March 2011.

Ché Donald, vice chairman of the Police Federation, said: "This 0.1 per cent% real terms increase in a decade means police officers have failed to be properly rewarded for their hard work and been badly let down by successive governments.

“Police numbers dropped considerably during a period when most commentators would agree crime became much more complex, and the challenges and demands on policing increased significantly."

He added that an increase in the population over the last decade means officers across England and Wales have effectively been left to "police another small country", though the Home Office said it was still funding a programme to recruit extra officers.

He said: "We have called for the Government to follow the advice of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Constabulary Sir Tom Winsor and consider multi-year funding deals, akin to the NHS.

"This is needed to reverse years of damaging cuts and prevent forces from having to operate hand to mouth each year because of the existing annual settlements."

Mr Donald added that the current funding model is a "postcode lottery" which does not always allow cash to go where it is needed.

A Home Office spokesman said: "We’re committed to giving the police the resources they need to fight crime and protect the public.

"This year’s funding settlement provided an increase of up to £600 million compared to last year’s settlement and included an additional £415 million to support the recruitment of 20,000 extra officers by March 2023."

Forces also received nearly £200 million outside of the police funding settlement last year to meet "unforeseen" coronavirus-related costs, the spokesman added.

Some police forces will see their budget boosted by additional income from activities such as policing football matches or providing training, the Home Office said.