Views sought on changes to police funding formula

21 Jul 15

Policing minister Mike Penning is consulting on reforms to the funding formula for the 43 police forces in England and Wales, which could see changes introduced from next April.

Penning said the current system for allocating central government funding was “complex, opaque and out of date” and needed to be reformed to ensure the available funds are divided fairly.

The existing police allocation formula uses 11 categories, including investigation of 7 types of crime, to determine total police workload for an area. This is then combined with population density in a formula to determine funding.
However Penning said the current method, which distributed £7.8bn in 2015/16, could be made both fairer and more transparent. Funding through the PAF represents 90% of the overall police grant settlement.

“Police reform is working,” Penning stated. “Over the last five years, frontline services have been protected, public confidence in the police has gone up and crime has fallen by more than a quarter, according to the independent Crime Survey for England and Wales.

“However, 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 a long-term, sustainable footing.

“The current model for allocating police funding, is complex, opaque and out of date. This consultation sets out proposals to deliver a police funding model for the future which is fair, robust and transparent, and I urge people to share their views.”

Proposed changes set out in the consultation for 2016/17 would create a new funding settlement based on three factors. These would be: population levels; the underlying characteristics of a local population (such as the number of households where no-one works); and environmental characteristics (for example the number of the bars in an area).

CIPFA’s police advisor Alison Dewhirst said the institute welcomed the government’s proposals to change the funding model for the Police Allocation Formula.

“However it is important to note that the timescales proposed are very tight for such fundamental changes,” she added.

“There may also be a disproportionate impact on some forces who at the same time are trying to cope with austerity.”

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