Vera Baird DBE KC

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

Remarkable U-turn forced on government by PCCs.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird, commenting on today’s Spending Review in which the Chancellor agreed to protect police funding in real terms over the next four years said:

“This is a remarkable u turn. Only a few days ago sources close to the Chancellor showed him determined to cut policing by up to 25% again, giving rise to fear that we would lose much of the neighbourhood policing our public values so highly.

“A concerted campaign by police and by Police and Crime Commissioners of both major political parties, heavily supported by the public has made George Osborne quickly come to terms with the post-Paris reality. It would have been the height of irresponsibility to slash funding causing the loss of thousands more police, on top of the 17000 already lost nationwide at a time when the French are increasing their force by 5000 officers. More police not less are needed if we are to prevent and, if the unthinkable happens, to cope with the kind of scattered but co-ordinated attacks we saw in Paris and Mali in the last two weeks

“As ever the devil is in the detail. A letter from the Home Secretary this afternoon says that there will actually be a small cut of 1.3% over four years. It also indicates no funding to pay for the increase in cash for counter-terrorism announced, nor for the pledged enhancement to mobile communications, nor to fund collaborative back office savings. That suggests that these funds will be sliced off the top of our cash once it has been received. This could well mean less cash for local policing after all.

“We will know Northumbria’s share of this funding in December. We really deserve a larger share than we currently receive. Following the government’s failure to complete a new funding allocation formula, our next challenge will be to make sure that we get that extra share and not the reduction of £16M which their latest proposal – now abandoned – would have led to.

“Meanwhile it is good that Osborne has listened and while there are still cuts to be made from the last budget reductions, Northumbria Police will be sufficiently funded to continue the excellent job it does to protect the public.”