Vera Baird DBE KC

Writer, Lecturer, Parliamentary Consultant and Co-Director of Astraea: Gender Justice

Assessing the General Election result.

Congratulations to all our MPs who were elected to Parliament last month, I look forward to working with them all to promote Northumbria Police and to lobby further for an open, transparent funding package for Northumbria Police.

A hung Parliament will make the next few years interesting, especially for anyone who thrives on the engine room of politics. I hope a hung parliament will ensure that Theresa May and her government are scrutinised to ensure the best deal possible for policing.

On June 21st we had the Queen’s Speech – with very little in it. It was a threadbare document and didn’t deliver the extra funding we so need to ensure we can put extra police officers on the street. Throughout the speech all we heard were promises of more austerity and cuts to vital public services. Local residents can be assured that I will continue to lobby government hard to ensure the very best deal possible for our region.

Over the last few days, there has been comments made by government ministers stating that police funding has been protected. Let me be absolutely clear, as Police & Crime Commissioner for Northumbria I can categorically state that police funding has not been protected. Since 2010 to today, Northumbria Police force has needed to make savings and cuts of £136 million to manage reductions in funding, this is a real terms reduction in excess of 23%. For 2017/18 national direct funding for all forces was cut by 1.4%, £3.0m in Northumbria’s case, with local tax payers expected to cover the shortfall via an increase in precept on council tax.

I have raised this issue time and time again with the Home Office, but it continues to fall on deaf ears. This Government has cut the funding for police forces across England and Wales. Local Policing is a priority here in Northumbria, it’s our eyes and ears of local communities, despite all the challenges put in our way by central government, top slicing of funds from our budget for government projects we have managed to protect local policing – for how long I can continue to do this I do not know. I have called upon the Home Secretary to sort the funding problem, it is imperative that counter terrorism policing is properly funded, and that funding is not diverted from mainstream policing as a result. The Home Office state that counter-terrorism funding would increase by 30% by 2022, that dates needs to be brought forward to NOW.

I will continue to work with partners in the region to ensure that Northumbria Police continues to deliver the excellent policing service that you and your family deserve