Yet again, the Government has failed to fund the police fairly and instead shunted the cost of much-needed additional policing on to local people, says Greater Manchester’s Deputy Mayor.
As revealed before Christmas, the police grant – the money police forces receive from central government – included an additional £15m for Greater Manchester Police. However, whilst Ministers badged this as an investment in local policing, this money will merely cover the police pension shortfall - an additional financial burden caused by the Treasury moving the goalposts on how it calculates pension contributions.
In addition, the Government has given local areas the ability to raise the police element of the council tax by £24 per household.
Now local people are encouraged to share their views on the Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester’s proposal to ask residents to pay more to strengthen police officer numbers and help GMP to respond to the increasing and complex demand in Greater Manchester.
The proposal is to use any additional funding to increase our police services by recruiting at least 320 additional police officers, continuing to improve the 101 service, increasing the grants to local authorities to fund community safety initiatives, and tackling both serious and violent crime and violence against women and girls.
Deputy Mayor Bev Hughes said: “The Government’s disappointing and shameful police grant announcement did very little to ease the pressure on stretched police budgets, and once again passed the financial burden on to local taxpayers.
“This means we are left with very little choice but to ask Greater Manchester residents to contribute more to help us ensure that our police service is properly resourced to protect them.
“This is not an easy proposal to put forward and we do so very reluctantly, but I want to be clear that all the money raised through council tax will be invested in improving your police service. This will include continuing to strengthen police officer numbers and investing in new ways to tackle the increasing demands on the service.
“We need to balance the books whilst balancing competing demands, which is why we want to hear your views on the proposals as we continue to mitigate years of cuts.”
Around 80% of GMP’s budget comes from a central Government grant, but this has been cut by £250m since 2010, which has seen the loss of 2,000 police officers and 1,000 non-police staff. This is against a backdrop of increasing crime and complex demand such as cybercrime, child sexual exploitation and human trafficking.
Have your say on the council tax proposals at gmconsult.org. The survey closes at 11.59pm on 27 January 2019.
Article Published: 11/01/2019 15:19 PM