Long-term funding is key to future stability - Federation calls for end to ‘boom-and-bust’ settlements

Posted On: 
15th January 2020

The Police Federation of England and Wales has asked Government to agree to a sustained funding settlement which could allow forces to make long-term strategic plans to battle crime and support communities.

Responding to Phase One of the Strategic Review of Policing currently being carried out by The Police Foundation, the Federation also called for an end to boom-and-bust, short-term, one-year financial settlements.

The case for long-term settlements was made in a detailed submission to the Review, aimed at examining the ability of police to respond to the changing nature of crime.

The Federation argued the case for long-term planning and investment and an end to a system where policing has been at the whim of political drivers, with annual budgets set by national and local government.

It brought together a wide range of transformative proposals which the organisation is seeking to change modern policing to meet the demands of the 21st century.

The submission included a call for a full review of the police funding formula to end the current postcode lottery where richer regions get more resources for policing. It also contained a request for diversity to be made a fundamental part of the government’s proposed 20,000 increase in police officer numbers, to make the service more reflective of communities.

Other key recommendations included:

  • A call to examine the adequacy of mental health services and impact of the increasing number of elderly and vulnerable people in society
  • The need to re-examine a complaints investigation protocol which is labour intensive and often disproportionate to the magnitude of a complaint
  • A request for proper analysis of the 43-force model of policing which ‘may not necessarily best serve the needs of the public’

Describing the Strategic Review as a “once in a generation opportunity to help right the wrongs of austerity,” National Chair John Apter welcomed the opportunity to analyse how police would tackle future threats to public safety.

He added: “It’s almost 60 years since the last Royal Commission, and we have been calling for another since 1999. This review is an important opportunity for us to help shape the future of policing into the century.

“While appreciating that the police service is a 24/7 365 days a year service, it does not mean it is best place or best equipped to deal with all public demands. This is an opportunity to help determine what the public wants and expects of their police service.”

Following the conclusion of the first phase, a further second phase will examine workforce, equipment, accountability mechanisms, structures and resources in early 2020.