Cheshire’s police and crime commissioner has today spoken out against a government decision to hold back a third of the £45m it originally promised to support the first round of recruitment of new police officers.
The Home Office says £16.3 million of the funds to recruit the first 2,000 officers by April 2020 will be held centrally to improve training processes, raise awareness of policing vacancies across the country and to develop IT infrastructure.
But PCC David Keane says a lot of this work will already be carried out locally and has challenged the government to account for its withholding of funds.
“The government’s decision to hold back such a large proportion of the funds promised to local police forces to recruit extra officers for these activities is outrageous. A lot of this work, particularly the advertising of vacancies and training of officers, is best placed to be carried out locally.
“I’m concerned that this £16.3m promised for local policing is being used nationally to advertise and promote the government’s pledge to increase police officer numbers.
“I’ve already outlined my concerns about how additional costs associated with the recruitment of new officers will be met, so to hear that a big chunk of the funding promised to support the uplift will be held back is another blow.
“This is yet again another example of the government putting extra pressure on local police budgets. We need more officers to help us start to address the adverse effects austerity has had on local policing but I believe that these new posts should be fully funded by central government as promised.
“Local police funding has been subject to damaging central government cuts since 2010 which has resulted in the loss of officers in Cheshire. It’s time that the government provided fair funding so we can put back the resources we’ve lost to keep our communities safe.”