Reality Check: Is police funding falling?

The impact of funding on rising crime is a matter of hot debate, but what is certain is that police forces in England and Wales have less money than they did in 2010.

Putting a precise figure on it is harder than you might think, however, because budgets are made up of different elements and these elements are not published officially in one place.

What's happened to budgets?

After five years of cuts, in 2015 the government committed to protecting English and Welsh police forces' budgets in real terms overall.

But there are big caveats to this.

Police forces in England and Wales mainly get their money from a combination of grants from central government - the biggest chunk - and money raised through council taxes.

There are also separate grants from central government which fund areas that are dealt with on a national level, like cyber-crime and counter-terrorism. Not every police force will receive this money.

Firstly, police spending is only protected in real terms overall once you include these national grants.

When it comes to funding individual forces' policing, budgets are protected in cash terms which means forces are still experiencing a real-terms cut because of the rising costs of policing.

For example, the Met is getting the same amount of money - its funding from government is not being reduced - but its costs are rising so it says it must find £400m in savings.

There are also big variations in how much money different areas are able to raise in council tax, and therefore how much they rely on grants from central government.

In Surrey which has more taxpayers and more valuable properties, the force gets 44% of its funding from central government. In Northumbria, where council tax take is lower, 83% of police funding comes from central government.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies says overall police budgets fell by 14% between 2010-11 and 2014-15.

BBC Reality Check calculates that between 2010 and 2017 there has been about a 20% cut in police funding in real terms.

As funding has fallen, so have numbers of police officers.

police officer numbers

But government says it's putting more money in?

In December, Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced what she described as a "substantial" £450m increase in police funding in England and Wales.

This brings us to our second caveat.

More than half of this money (£270m) will be raised from council tax. It's not new money from government.

This commitment to protect budgets relies on police and crime commissioners putting up council tax by the maximum they are allowed.

The chunk of funding that comes from central government has been falling in cash terms in every year up to 2017-18. It is going to stay the same in 2018-19 as the year before.

The chairman of the UK Statistics Authority, Sir David Norgrove, has flagged the lack of transparency around police funding in the past.

He also said: "The prime minister's statement and the Home Office's tweet could have led the public to conclude incorrectly that central government is providing an additional £450m for police spending in 2018-19.

"The Home Office tweet also implied that the £450m sum is guaranteed. As the minister for policing's statement outlined, up to £270m of the funding settlement will come from local council tax, if police and crime commissioners and mayors choose to raise these sums."

What about the rest of the UK?

All UK forces have seen reductions to their funding since 2010.

In Scotland, there is a single police service, formed through the merger of eight forces in April 2013. The Police Service of Scotland (PSoS) is centrally funded by the Scottish government and has no council-tax raising powers, although local authorities are able to put some of their general budgets into funding local policing priorities.

Between 2013, when the single police service was formed, and 2016, the Scottish Police Authority's budget fell by about 9% in real terms.

Projections published in 2017 suggested the police service would be almost £200m in deficit by 2021.

In Northern Ireland, the police service's budget reduced by 17% between 2011 and 2015.

Northern Ireland also has a single police service, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) which is centrally funded from Westminster. It bids for funding from the Treasury and cannot raise money through local taxes.

Read more news of London on our site.

bbc.com
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
2 views in october
I recommend
No recommendations yet

Comments

Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

Society
London area home sales fell 15.9 per cent in September from August because of a shortage of homes to sell, and that shortage of inventory helped push up prices by 20 per cent from a year ago, the head of the London St. Thomas Association of Realtors (LSTAR) said. In September, LSTAR reported 776 homes changed hands in London and St. Thomas, compared to a near-record August, when 923 homes were sold. By the numbers Homes sold in September: 776 (a drop of 6....
Society
Radical preacher Anjem Choudary, jailed for inviting support for the Islamic State group, has been released. The cleric was sentenced in 2016 to five-and-a-half years in prison. He led an extremist network linked to violent jihadists, including one of the killers of soldier Lee Rigby in 2013. Choudary, 51, has now served half of his sentence and will complete the rest under strict supervision. Police are preparing up to 25 measures to control him, the BBC...
Society
One of London's front-running mayoral candidates has already put 40 per cent more of his own money into his campaign than the $25,000 limit allowed by law, a move that could put him in jeopardy if he wins the top job, provincial and civic election officials say. One of London’s front-running mayoral candidates has already put 40 per cent more of his own money into his campaign than the $25,000 limit allowed by law, a move that could put him in jeopardy if...
Society
Nearly 150 County of Lambton paramedics are no longer responding to non-emergency calls amid ongoing negotiations for a new contract. Job action as of last Saturday means Lambton County paramedics won’t be doing non-urgent transfers between hospitals for the next while, or keeping ambulance stations as neat and tidy, a union spokesperson says. Nearly 150 Lambton Emergency Medical Services (EMS) paramedics represented by SEIU Healthcare Local 1 stopped resp...
Society
Clapham Junction has been named London’s worst mainline train station for disruption in a survey by leading consumer title Which? Fifty-seven per cent of trains have been late or cancelled at the south London interchange since the beginning of the year, their research found. Their study found King’s Cross was the second worst, with 51 per cent of trains delayed or cancelled, followed by Victoria (47 per cent), Stratford (44 per cent) and London Bridge (44...
Society
Tube drivers on the Piccadilly Line are set to hold fresh 24-hour strike action in a row over staffing and working conditions. The RMT Union has urged members to walk out at 12:00 BST on 7 November until noon the following day - writes bbc.com The union's general secretary Mick Cash said it had become "frustrated" with Tube bosses' handling of a "full raft of issues". Transport for London (TfL) said it was "disappointed" with the new strike. Drivers on the...
Society
The Tate and the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) are calling for a premium to fund arts classes in England's schools. The major arts institutions say league tables and pressures on time and budgets are squeezing out important creative subjects - writes bbc.com Six thousand 11 to 18-year-olds have described how the subjects help build their confidence, in new research. The government says it is investing almost £500m in arts and music. Creative subjects hav...
Crime
Five teenagers have been jailed for fatally stabbing a man in an unprovoked attack as he returned home from an appointment with his pregnant partner. Daniel Frederick, 34, was knifed repeatedly by the group just yards from his home in Stoke Newington, Hackney. Three teenagers were convicted of murdering Mr Frederick while another two were found guilty of manslaughter. They were jailed at the Old Bailey for a combined total of at least 64 years. Judge Phili...
Society
Work at a building site near London's Olympic Park has stopped after complaints about "horrendous" smells. Nearby Mossbourne Academy said its students felt sick and local residents spoke of headaches because of smells coming from the site in Hackney Wick. The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) told Telford Homes to stop work last month until a new plan to "manage the site" was approved. The LLDC and Telford Homes claimed there was no health risk....