Merseyside’s Police Commissioner has spoken of her disappointment at the Government’s Provisional Police Funding Settlement for 2022/23 announced yesterday.
Commenting on the statement by the Minister of State for Crime and Policing, the Commissioner Emily Spurrell said: “This announcement causes real concern.
“While it is a relief that funding will continue to be provided to recruit officers to replace some of those lost during nearly a decade of austerity, it is deeply disappointing that, yet again, no extra money has been provided by the government to cover any pay rise or inflationary pressures, which are now at record levels.
“Furthermore, ministers have completely failed to explain how the increase in National Insurance rates will be funded, despite previously indicating the bill would be picked up by central government.
“If we are forced to fund this locally, it will set Merseyside Police back £2.2m – money we simply cannot spare.
“The biggest disappointment though, is that this settlement makes it overwhelmingly clear ministers are once again presuming the shortfall can come out of the pockets of local people, by expecting Police and Crime Commissioners to increase council tax.
“This is grossly unfair – particularly for a region like Merseyside which has high levels of deprivation, when they should be taxing those who can afford it most.
“The reality is that you can’t deliver effective policing and keep communities safe on the cheap.
“If I chose to go against government expectation and not ask local people to pay more, Merseyside Police will be left with an even bigger blackhole. This will have long-term consequences for policing our region.
“Policing was cut to the bone by this Government. Even with the current recruitment drive, Merseyside Police will still be 440 officers short of the numbers it had back in 2010.
“This government makes big statements about funding our police service, but the reality is they are still cutting – they’re just using smoke and mirrors to do it.”