Northumbria’s Police & Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird has insisted that Conservative Chancellor, George Osborne must pay back over £1 million pound to Northumbria Police.
Mr Osborne has been reprimanded by an official statistics watchdog – after he cut police funding for Northumbria despite promising not to.
The Tories also used the council tax precept by planning a budget that included an assumption local residents in Northumbria would pay £5 a year more for their policing with no consultation with local people, police & crime commissioners or council leaders.
PCC Vera Baird, said: “All of Osborne’s bravado last year was hot air – we knew at the time he had cut police budgets and this has been confirmed by the UK Statistics Authority. The government manipulated the figures, assumed a council tax increase of £5 to just maintain the services. The Police Grant that we receive from government is less, it’s wrong that the government forced the police to keep services at their current level by imposing a £5 increase with no consultation.”
Here in Northumbria, police funding is made up of a grant from central government and the police precept element of the council tax. The government put their funding package together including a £5 increase. Forces then have money taken off them through “top slicing”, this is where money is used to pay for national schemes.
Vera Baird added: “In relation to the Police Precept, it is normally the role of police & crime commissioners to determine an increase, if at all. This time the government put in place the £5 increase – if this amount had not been included, our police force would have received even less funding. Northumbria has also had £1.2 million directly removed and I want it back. I want this money to invest in policing to ensure we keep bobbies on the beat and that Northumbria remains one of the safest places in the country to live.”
Vera Baird will be meeting the Shadow Home Secretary, Andy Burnham and the Shadow Policing Minister, Jack Dromey, to urge them to keep the pressure on the Chancellor , to get him to correct the record and find the extra money to honour his promise.
Since 2010, Northumbria Police budget has been cut by the Tories and Lib Dems by more than £100 million, this has resulted in the force loosing 861 police officers and nearly 1000 police staff.