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Police chiefs threaten Home Office with legal action over reforms

By DPF Admin3rd November 2015August 6th, 2019Area Updates, Latest News, Northern Updates, Southern Updates

Six police and crime commissioners have threatened the Home Office with legal action over changes to the way police forces in England and Wales are funded.

The group, which also includes London's deputy mayor for policing, have written to the government arguing proposals are “deeply flawed”, the Independent said.

The signatories, five of whom are Tories, say they will seek a judicial review unless the changes are halted.

The government has said the old funding formula was “not fit for purpose”.

New proposals, which the Home Office is currently consulting on, set out changes to the way central government allocates funding to the 43 forces in England and Wales.

Under the system, factors including the number of jobless households and the number of bars in an area would contribute to determining how much money each force is allocated.

'Unfair, unjustified'

While some forces could see their budgets increase under the new system, analysts suggest 11 forces could lose out on funding.

The letter to Policing Minister Mike Penning, warning that the proposals are “unfair, unjustified and deeply flawed”, has reportedly been signed by police commissioners representing:

  •                 Cumbria
  •                 Lancashire
  •                 Devon and Cornwall
  •                 Merseyside
  •                 North Yorkshire
  •                 Thames Valley
  •                 London's Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime

It says Lancashire Police's annual budget will be cut by £25m – nearly 14% – and Cumbria Police's “viability” will be brought into question if its funding is reduced by £9m under the reforms.

Police services in Britain face a “milestone moment”, and the government's decision could shape policing “for a generation”, it says.

The group said they were “taking legal advice with a view to initiating a judicial review” should their concerns “not be addressed”.

'Fair and robust'

Mr Penning has previously said the reforms, which would take effect in the next financial year, would put police funding “on a long-term, sustainable footing”.

The current Police Allocation Formula, which has been used for nearly 10 years, is “complex, opaque and out-of-date”, while the new system would be “fair, robust and transparent”, he has argued.

The Commons Home Affairs Committee is due to hear evidence about the proposals on Tuesday, with a Home Office consultation, which began in July, due to end on Friday.

Last month London Mayor Boris Johnson said the changes would “severely disadvantage” the capital.

He told the London Assembly its impact “has not been properly thought through at all”.

Chancellor George Osborne is due to announce the latest departmental spending review in November, which will set out the details of the Home Office budget beyond 2015-16.

The Met believes it will face cuts of up to £1bn, prompting Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe to say it would lead to a reduction in the number of front-line officers.

But the Home Office said forces would still have the resources to do their work.

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