Police chiefs "threaten legal action" against Home Office

Police and Crime Commissioners write to ministers over new funding formula – but Home Office says changes will improve "complex, opaque and out of date" system

By Emilio Casalicchio

03 Nov 2015

A number of Police and Crime Commissioners are reportedly threatening legal action against the government over funding reforms that could see their budgets cut.

The Home Office has announced plans to reform the “complex, opaque and out of date” Police Allocation Formula, which distributes cash between the 43 police forces in England and Wales.

Under the reforms, currently subject to a Home Office consultation, the new funding model will allocate government grant funding to PCCs based on local population levels and demographics, as well as the environmental characteristics of police force areas.

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But analysis suggests 11 forces could lose out under the planned reforms, with three at risk of losing more than 10% of their budgets.

The Independent reports that six of the elected commissioners and a deputy policing mayor that oversee policing in their local areas have attacked the government over what they call the “unjustified” and “deeply flawed” funding changes.

They have written to police minister Mike Penning urging a rethink of the reforms and threatening a judicial review otherwise.

The letter reads: “We believe this process should be halted immediately and the process redesigned to give forces and commissioners the information and time they need to make a proper and fair assessment of its consequences.”

It adds: “It is with much regret that we are therefore taking legal advice with a view to initiating a judicial review, should our concerns not be addressed.”

The police commissioners behind the letter represent Cumbria, Lancashire, Devon and Cornwall, Merseyside, North Yorkshire and Thames Valley.

It is also signed by Stephen Greenhalgh, London’s Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime.

The two for Merseyside and Lancashire are from Labour while the other five are Conservative members.

Penning told the paper: “Police reform is working and crime has fallen by more than a quarter since 2010, according to the independent Crime Survey for England and Wales.

“But if we want policing in this country to be the best it can be, then we must reform further, and that includes putting police funding on to a long-term, sustainable footing.

“The current model for allocating police funding is complex, opaque and out of date. That is why we have consulted on principles for reform of funding arrangements for the police in England and Wales, ensuring they are fair, robust and transparent.”

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