From Tim Passmore: PCC calls for public support for fairer financial settlement
As your Police and Crime Commissioner it’s my job to ensure you as a Suffolk taxpayer gets the very best value for money for policing in the county. At the moment I don’t believe we get a reasonable share of funding so I am launching this campaign to get public support to make a case to Government for a fairer settlement.
I welcome a fundamental review of the funding formula by the Policing Minister, Brandon Lewis, as it provides me with this opportunity to lobby for a formula which is readily understandable, transparent and provides a fairer funding settlement for Suffolk.
But I need your help, I’d like you to go to www.suffolk-pcc.gov.uk to read my assessment and, if you agree, to show your support by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday 20th January . Any additional comments that anyone wishes to make can be added to this email. I will use these public responses as evidence to lobby the Minister for a fairer deal for Suffolk.
I think Suffolk should get a more equitable settlement, which reflects the challenges the county faces. Whilst I recognise that fairness should take account of specific factors that will be common across all policing areas, I think the rural nature of Suffolk should be given proper weighting and the challenge of policing individual communities over a large geographic expanse should be considered when levels of funding are agreed.
Suffolk is home to one of the largest container ports in Europe, has a coast line of over 60 miles, we have five military establishments including two American airbases, the county is home to a nuclear power station and the A14 is a major route of national importance – my concern is that the Government does not recognise the significance of these crucial strategic national assets and the impact it has on our police service.
If we compare ourselves to one of our closest neighbours, we would receive around £3m more Home Office grant funding every year if it was funded to the same level as Norfolk (using unweighted population as the basis of the calculation). This is just not fair; £3million is a huge disparity between two quite similar counties.
Suffolk has a reputation of being a very prosperous county, and while there some very affluent areas, over 83,000 people in the county live in income deprivation at the most minimal standard provided by welfare benefits, that’s over 10% of the population.
The recently published ‘Hidden Needs’ research makes pretty sober reading; the first report was written five years ago and sadly deprivation levels have increased right across the county since then. Sadly, where there are higher levels of economic and social deprivation, communities suffer from increased levels of crime, anti-social behaviour, addiction and abuse, which provides resourcing challenges for the Constabulary which are not considered in the current formula.