‘Potholes over police’ - Damning statements from Essex and Suffolk police federations

Darren Harris wants to see a change to the police funding model. Picture: DARREN HARRIS/SUFFOLK POLI

Darren Harris wants to see a change to the police funding model. Picture: DARREN HARRIS/SUFFOLK POLICE FEDERATION - Credit: SUFFOLK POLICE FEDERATION

Police Federation chairmen in Essex and Suffolk have blasted the government’s budget as funding for domestic policing is overlooked in favour of road repairs.

The comments come after Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hammond MP gave his financial plan for the coming years, announcing the beginning of the end of austerity and £160million for specialist counter terrorism units.

Chairman of the Essex Police Federation, Steven Taylor, made it clear that this was not enough.

Mr Taylor said: “I am bitterly disappointed and yet not surprised. It appears the only thing increasing under this Government is crime, as funding, morale, and satisfaction in the police drop and austerity continues unabated.

“This government continues to choke policing of the funding it so desperately deserves.”

During the budget there was no new money announced for frontline policing, and the sum for counter terrorism came to less than half of the £420million the government has allocated to deal with potholes.

Mr Taylor added: “This government would rather the hole in the street be repaired than have the police to patrol the community. People think the Conservatives are the party of the police – not under this leader they aren’t.”

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The Home Affairs Select Committee warned that neighbourhood policing was bearing the brunt of shrinking budgets on the force in the days before the announcement from Mr Hammond.

“Crime is up, charges and arrests are down, and the police service is struggling to respond effectively to emerging and growing challenges, such as online fraud and online child abuse,” said committee chair Yvette Cooper MP.

Suffolk Police Federation chairman Darren Harris echoed Mr Taylor’s comments on the lack of funding for his force.

He said: “There is no direct reference to an increase in the budget other than the counter terrorism provision.

“I think there needs to be much more spent on policing so that chiefs can spend it on the priorities of each force.

He added: “More money and a review of the funding formula for policing nationally is needed - Suffolk is underfunded in the current model and needs a larger portion of the budget.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Police have the resources they need to carry out their vital work and we have provided a strong and comprehensive settlement. In Essex, direct funding, including income from council tax precept, is increasing by £8.8m in 2018/19.

“The Government understands that police demand is changing and becoming increasingly complex. That is why the Policing Minister has spoken to every police force in the country to understand the demands they are facing and why the Home Secretary is committed to prioritising police funding.”

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