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Police cuts have consequences

The Government has finally announced a provisional settlement for police forces across the country for 2019/20.

The Conservatives plan to double the ‘precept’ on council tax meaning that hard pressed local taxpayers will bear the burden for funding police forces.

Sadly this will hit areas with a low council tax base hardest – like Portsmouth – meaning that those areas which have lost the most through recent cuts in central government grants will receive the least.

It comes at a time when figures for this year show that police numbers are now at the lowest in 30 years, whilst police recorded violent crime is now at the highest on record, knife offences are at the highest level since records began, arrests have halved in a decade and unsolved crimes stand at 2 million.

Whilst additional central government funding for local police forces will amount to just £161m in 2019/20, police chiefs have privately warned inflation and cost pressures will reach £484m in 2019/20.

Responding to the announcement by the Home Secretary, Stephen Morgan, Member of Parliament for Portsmouth South, said:

“The Government’s funding announcement for policing is fundamentally unfair. By using a precept on council tax to fund police is perverse and is based on the ability to pay, not based on need. 

Worryingly, this decision on resources is just a drop in the ocean. Forces have lost a staggering £2.7bn in real terms thanks to Tory austerity meaning 1,000 less officers in Hampshire and crime up 10% in Portsmouth.

The amount offered to Hampshire means Portsmouth Police still losing out in  real-terms once inflation, cost pressures and other funding pressures are taken into account. 

Months after his warm words, the Home Secretary has failed to deliver any substantial increase in central government funding beyond filling black holes.

Portsmouth taxpayers will be paying the price for his failure and Hampshire’s police will be forced to make further tough choices on the ways they keep us safe at a time when crime is on the rise. 

When the Police Federation says ‘cuts have consequences’, it is clear that Portsmouth police and our city’s communities deserve better from this Government”.