Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore met with Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Service, Nick Hurd yesterday (September 27) to discuss the future funding challenges the Constabulary faces.
The Minister is talking to PCCs and Chief Constables across the country to understand better how the constabularies are managing the financial pressures. This was an opportunity for Tim Passmore to petition for a fairer financial settlement for Suffolk Constabulary, something he has lobbied for consistently since his election.
Tim Passmore said, “There are times in life when democratically elected leaders face extremely difficult decisions on behalf of their constituents and as Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner I am in such a situation. I am not seeking to be alarmist but the ability of Suffolk Constabulary to deliver an effective service, keeping communities safe and maintain public confidence is in serious jeopardy. This is due largely to financial pressure caused by the current Home Office funding regime, which for years has had an inbuilt bias against large rural counties like Suffolk.
In setting out the challenges they face, Tim Passmore, supported by Deputy Chief Constable, Steve Jupp, talked about the significantly higher workload of police officers in Suffolk, which is the highest in the country – 150 cases per year per officer compared to 132 cases per year in Norfolk and only 122 in the West Midlands. They also stressed the point that if Suffolk received the same level of Home Office funding as Norfolk on a pro rata basis, Suffolk’s grant would be £3.5 million higher, which would be a significant increase to the current total budget which is £121.8 million.
The key areas raised by the PCC for the Home Office to consider were:
- A much fairer funding settlement for Suffolk so we are at least funded on the same per capita basis as neighbouring Norfolk
- Funding to cover any pay rise above 1%
- Recognition that financial reserves cannot be further depleted
- Allow the budget to obtain the full benefit from the increased tax base
- Cessation of the reduction in capital grant funding allowances
- Incentives for much wider public sector reform and restructuring
Tim continued, “I firmly believe Suffolk should get a more equitable settlement, which reflects the challenges our county faces. Suffolk is home to one of the largest container ports in Europe, has a coast line of over 60 miles, we have five military establishments including two American airbases and the county is home to a nuclear power station. Suffolk does not have a motorway but the A14 is a major route of national importance – my concern is that the Government does not recognise the significance of these crucial strategic national assets. To be able to explain this directly to the Minister was extremely useful, I just hope it will make a difference.”