Police Grant Report (England and Wales) 2017/18:Written statement - HCWS360

WS
Home Office
Made on: 15 December 2016
Made by: Brandon Lewis (The Minister of State for Fire and Policing)
Commons

Police Grant Report (England and Wales) 2017/18

I have today placed in the Library my proposals for the aggregate amount of grant to Local Policing Bodies in England and Wales for 2017/18, for the approval of the House. Copies are also available in the Vote Office.

The Government is committed to protecting the public. The Government will provide the resources necessary for the police to do their critical work, and prioritise finishing the job of police reform by enabling the police to transform so they can tackle changing crime, deal with previously hidden crimes and protect the vulnerable.

Since 2010 we have seen some of the biggest changes to policing in a generation. Crime is down by over a quarter according to the Independent Crime Survey for England and Wales. There is significantly greater local accountability and transparency and police leaders have taken the opportunity to radically reform the way they deliver services to the public. Police officers have been taken out of back office roles and resources focused on front line delivery. Police forces are working more closely than ever before to reduce costs and duplication, and have started to work more closely with other emergency services through co-location and collaboration in areas such as fire and mental health.

As Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) has set out, there is still considerable scope for forces to continue to improve the efficiency of their organisations and transform the way in which they operate, and it is vital that the pace and urgency of change continues if we are to have a police force fit to meet the challenges of the 21st century. HMIC noted: “we found evidence to suggest that some forces have reduced the pace and ambition of their plans since last year.” The Government expects Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) and Chief Constables to do everything in their power to drive efficiencies at pace, and this settlement provides the opportunity to improve the quality of policing and continue to reduce crime.

The Welsh Government is also setting out today its proposals for the allocation of funding in 2017/18 for Local Policing Bodies in Wales.

Following the principles set out on the 4 February 2016 when publishing the final police funding settlement for 2016/17 [HCWS510] direct resource funding for each PCC, including precept, will be protected at flat cash levels compared to 2015/16, assuming that precept income is increased to the maximum amount available in both 2016/17 and 2017/18. No PCC who chooses to maximise precept in both years will face a reduction in cash funding next year compared to 2015/16. We have updated our precept forecasts for 2017/18 since February to reflect actual tax base increases in 2016/17.

More is still required to transform policing to meet policing’s own vision for 2025. I am therefore announcing an increase in the level of reallocations essential to drive police reform. As planned at the time of the Spending Review, we will be investing additional funding in police technology. Precept income has increased faster than expected, which means we can meet our planning assumption on direct resource funding for PCCs and also substantially increase the size of the Police Transformation Fund to £175m in 2017/18. This will allow the policing sector to invest additional funding in the projects that will improve efficiency, protect vulnerable victims of crime, further improve the leadership and culture of policing and tackle new types of crime such as cyber crime.

The 2017/18 settlement continues the current methodology of applying uniform percentage changes to core grant funding for each PCC.

I have set out in a separate document (attached) the tables illustrating how we propose to allocate the police funding settlement between the different funding streams and between Local Policing Bodies for 2017/18. These documents are intended to be read together.

Table 1 sets out the overall revenue police funding settlement for 2017/18, and Table 2 sets out the overall capital settlement (both excluding Counter Terrorism Police Grant). Provisional force-level allocations of revenue grants (excluding Counter Terrorism Police Grant) for Local Policing Bodies in England and Wales for 2017/18 are set out in Table 3, and Table 4 sets out the capital allocations for Local Policing Bodies. Table 5 demonstrates how the Government expects that all PCCs can maintain flat cash budgets compared to 2015/16 if they maximise precept; the exception is where they have materially reduced their precept level in 2016/17.

Counter terrorism police funding

I will continue to allocate specific funding for counter-terrorism policing over the course of the Spending Review period to ensure that the police have the capabilities to deal with the terrorist threats that we face, in addition to the funding set out in this settlement. Funding for counter terrorism policing is protected. The indicative Spending Review profile for counter terrorism police funding in 2017/18 is £670m; this figure will be confirmed separately. In addition a further £32m will be provided for armed policing from the Police Transformation Fund in 2017/18.

Police and Crime Commissioners will receive full counter terrorism funding allocations in the New Year. For security reasons these allocations will not be available in the public domain.

Legacy Council Tax Grants

In 2017/18 we will provide Council Tax Freeze Grants to PCCs in England relating to the 2011/12, 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16 council tax freeze schemes. We will also provide Local Council Tax Support grant funding to PCCs in England. These will total £507m in 2017/18.

The Common Council of the City of London (on behalf of the City of London Police) and the Greater London Authority (on behalf of the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime) will also receive Council Tax Freeze Grants relating to the 2011/12 freeze grant scheme. The Greater London Authority will also receive an amount for the 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16 schemes. These sums will continue to be paid by DCLG. There will be no new freeze grant schemes in 2017/18.

Baseline adjustments and reallocations

The Government has reallocated funding to support critical national priorities for policing.

National and International Capital City Grants

The Metropolitan Police Service, through the Greater London Authority, will continue to receive National and International Capital City (NICC) grant funding worth £173.6m, and the City of London Police will also continue to receive NICC funding worth £4.5m. This is in recognition of the unique and additional demands of policing the capital city, and also ensures that total direct resource funding to both forces is similarly protected.

Police Transformation Fund

Total funding for transformation will increase in size to £175m, an increase of over £40m. The Government will be working with the Police Reform and Transformation Board to ensure a sector led approach to use this increase in funding in order to incentivise and facilitate transformation in policing. This will improve the leadership and culture of policing, the diversity of its workforce, protection of vulnerable people, cross-force specialist capabilities, exploitation of new technology and how we respond to changing threats.

We will continue to fund a national uplift in armed policing capability and capacity to respond more quickly and effectively to a firearms attack with £32m of specific funding. We will also continue to fund current Police Innovation Fund projects.

Police technology programmes

Funding will continue to be reallocated for the new Emergency Services Network (ESN), the existing Airwave system, Home Office Biometrics and the National Law Enforcement Police Database. As planned at the time of the Spending Review, there will be an approximately £100m increase in funding for ESN. This is critical to give all officers priority access to 4G mobile broadband data on a single network, including in some areas where it is currently not available at all, allowing them to get even more benefits from mobile working than many forces are already achieving. This investment will bring productivity and operational benefits as well as substantial savings to the taxpayer. Funding for major technology programmes will be managed flexibly between projects, to ensure reallocated funding is used as efficiently as possible. Around £1m will be spent maintaining the Forensic Archive, which maintains forensic exhibits relating to criminal investigations on behalf of the police.

Arms Length Bodies

The police settlement will continue to fund national policing bodies to deliver services and governance which are essential to the efficient and successful functioning of the police service. We will continue to fund HMIC’s PEEL inspection programme, and the College of Policing direct entry schemes. There will be increased funding to support the Independent Police Complaints Commission as it becomes the Independent Office for Police Conduct with an expanded role in investigating serious and sensitive allegations involving the police, enabling it to implement the legislative reforms in the Policing and Crime Bill and enhancing its capability to handle complex major investigations.

A new reallocation of around £2m will support the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) to use new police-style enforcement powers set out in the Immigration Act 2016 to tackle labour exploitation including modern slavery across the economy. Through greater resources to use these new powers, the GLAA will be able to undertake more investigations into modern slavery offences that might otherwise fall to the police, saving police time and improving the law enforcement response to exploitation of the most vulnerable workers.

Pre-charge bail

The Government plans to implement significant reforms to pre-charge bail including time limits set out in the Policing and Crime Bill. We will end the situation where some people can spend months or even years on pre-charge bail with few or no safeguards by introducing: a presumption that suspects will be released without bail, regular reviews by the courts and formal guidance governing the imposition of conditions. This change in police practice may involve increased costs for the magistrates’ courts and in legal aid, which a new reallocation of up to £15m for 2017/18 will meet.

Strengthening the response to organised crime

The National Crime Agency (NCA) and Regional Organised Crime Units will receive flat cash resource grants from the Home Office compared to 2015/16, in line with the approach taken to funding PCCs. This involves an adjustment to the police funding settlement to top up these grants, continuing the approach taken to NCA in 2016/17.

Police Special Grant including Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting policing

This is the third year we have decided to provide funding from the police settlement for the discretionary Police Special Grant contingency fund, which supports police force areas facing significant and exceptional events which might otherwise place them at significant financial risk. In 2017/18 I am providing £50m from the police settlement for Police Special Grant. This is an increase which reflects both an assessment of potential need across police forces, and the specific costs likely to be incurred preparing for the policing operation at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2018.

Council tax referendum principles

As in 2016/17, additional flexibility will be given to the 10 PCCs in England with the lowest precept bills (the lower quartile). The PCCs with the ten lowest bills will be able to raise their precept by £5 per Band D household. Other PCCs in England will receive a 2% referendum threshold.

The PCCs to receive the £5 flexibility in 2017/18 are Essex, Greater Manchester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Northumbria, South Yorkshire, Sussex, West Midlands and West Yorkshire.

The Communities Secretary is announcing today the council tax referendum principles for local authorities in England in 2017/18. After considering any representations, he will set out the final principles in a report to the House and seek approval for these in parallel with the Final Local Government Finance Report. Council tax in Wales is the responsibility of Welsh Ministers.

Police capital

I still intend to allocate the majority of capital funding directly to Local Policing Bodies. Like last year all Local Policing Bodies will receive the same percentage change in Capital Grant. I will continue to maintain a capital contingency. An increased investment in police technology reflects a programme of work to replace end of life hardware, increase capacity, and enhance functionality including significant investment to replace of end of life hardware required for the Police National Computer.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS355

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