Policing pledge will leave forces short – Louise Haigh
Boris Johnson’s flagship police recruitment pledge will leave more than half of forces below 2010 officer levels and entrench existing inequalities between Tory heartlands and our major towns and cities, Labour’s analysis shows.
The government has confirmed today that officer numbers will be allocated through the outdated funding formula, which the current Policing Minister has called “manifestly unfair” and subject to “constant complaints and nobody really had the cajones to get a grip on it”.
Surrey, which has only had a net reduction of eight officers since 2010, will be able to recruit as many as 260 officers, while major metropolitan areas dealing with surging violence and knife crime – such as the West Midlands, Northumbria and Merseyside – will still be far short of the officer levels they had in 2010.
Louise Haigh MP, Labour’s Shadow Policing Minister, said:
“Boris Johnson thinks he can get away with misleading people, but this again shows he can’t be trusted to be honest and that his claims fall apart under scrutiny.
“The truth is the brutal cuts he and his colleagues voted for will not be reversed and our communities will continue to be less safe as a result.
“Labour will end austerity and properly invest in the police, youth services, our NHS and other public services to rebuild our communities.”
- Dozens of forces will still be far short of 2010 levels, when the Tories came to power, even after the recruitment pledge has concluded based on the use of the funding formula to allocate officer numbers.
Home Office announces first wave of 20,000 recruitment. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/home-office-announces-first-wave-of-20000-police-officer-uplift
- Analysis carried out by Labour shows that even if all 20,000 officers were allocated over half of police forces (22 out of 43) would still have a net loss of officers compared to 2010-11. On the more likely scenario that around 13,000 officers will be allocated territorially, sixty percent of forces would still be down on 2010-11, with large urban forces like Manchester, Merseyside and the West Midlands losing out substantially.
|Police force area||First year recruitment target||% of 1st year target||Presumed % of 20k||Presumed % of 13k||Net change in officers since 2010-11||Net change – 20k||Net change – 13k|
|Avon & Somerset||137||2.3||457||297||-625||-169||-329|
|Devon & Cornwall||141||2.4||470||306||-556||-86||-251|
|London, City of||44||0.7||147||95||-113||34||-18|
|England and Wales total||6,000||100.0||20,000||13,000||-20,564||-564||-7,564|
Funding will be allocated via the outdated funding formula, which has been heavily criticised by the current Policing Minister:
“Finally, I want to say something about the police formula. For many years it has been an unspoken secret—something that senior police officers sniggered about behind their hands—that the formula that was put in place 10 years ago was so manifestly unfair, but nevertheless politically sensitive, that politicians would never have the courage to meddle with it. During the four years that I was deputy Mayor for policing, there were constant complaints about the police formula and nobody really had the cojones, if that is parliamentary language, to get a grip on it. So I congratulate the Minister on finally dealing with it.”
Kit Malthouse, Hansard, 4 Nov 2015 : Column 1060, https://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2015-11-04/debates/15110440000001/Policing
One of the new PM’s first pledges upon entering No. 10 was on frontline policing, promising 20,000 extra officers “on the streets”.
“My job is to make your streets safer – and we are going to begin with another 20,000 police on the streets”.
Boris Johnson, 24 July 2019, https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/boris-johnsons-first-speech-as-prime-minister-24-july-2019
Similarly, the Home Secretary claimed funding for the uplift would be split among the 43 territorial police forces and those extra officers would be “on our streets”.
“Up to 6,000 new officers will be brought in during the first year. They will be shared among the 43 police forces in England and Wales …
I strongly believe that our campaign to put thousands of new police officers on our streets gives us a once in a generation opportunity to attract more police officers from all walks of life and professional backgrounds …
The primary objective of this recruitment campaign is clearly about getting more police officers on our streets.”
Priti Patel, Telegraph, 5 September 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/09/04/government-will-show-police-officers-respect-deserve/
However, a leaked letter from Priti Patel to the Mayor of London suggested that up 7,000 of the promised 20,000 uplift will not be frontline officers at all.[i] This was confirmed in Treasury documents released as part of the Spending Review:
“The Home Office (HO) will provide further detail in due course on how these officers will be allocated between the territorial police forces, counter-terrorism policing and serious and organised crime”
This announcement only sets recruitment targets for forces without actually giving the extra funding needed to achieve them.
Government sources suggested that police forces will not find out how much extra funding they will receive until December, when the draft Police Grant Report for 2020-21 is due to be published.
Guardian, 20 September 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/sep/29/police-recruitment-delays-as-home-office-silent-over-funding
The Policing Minister admitted as much, stating: “Force level funding will be set out in the usual way at the provisional police settlement”.
Kit Malthouse, Hansard, Written Answer 290825, 30 September 2019, https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2019-09-25/290825/