Hampshire police commissioner asks minister for cash

The police and crime commissioner says he will fight for more money for Hampshire Constabulary
The police and crime commissioner says he will fight for more money for Hampshire Constabulary
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THE government must urgently fork out cash to make up for a ‘disparity’ in funding for Hampshire Constabulary, the crime commissioner has said.

Michael Lane, Hampshire’s police and crime commissioner, made his comments after an inspection found the force was ‘good’ value for money.

But he says the HM Inspectorate of Constabulary report highlights that the force received £44.8m under the national average.

A new calculation for funding police forces – the funding formula – was delayed for 12 months last October as civil servants used the wrong data.

In a statement Mr Lane said: ‘Today, my funding is less than it should be to protect the people of Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth and Southampton.

‘From day one I have said I will fight to make the national funding formula fairer for all nationally – because if it is fairer overall, my communities will benefit from their fair share of resource to support the national safety requirements that are funded via the national tax formula.

‘This latest HMIC Value for Money report only serves to highlight the disparity of funding of forces across the country, with Hampshire £44.8m under the national average for funding – the second lowest.’

He added: ‘My advocacy to the minister was that if the new formula cannot be finally agreed soon, then some balancing is needed to deliver equity of resource in support of my communities as an interim measure.’

The force has had its budget slashed by £80m.

In a statement, Mr Lewis said: ‘Replacing the outdated police funding formula remains a priority for this government, and we have begun a process of detailed engagement with policing partners and relevant experts.’

The Home Office said total direct funding for Hampshire is increasing to £2.6m to £301.8m in 2016/17.

The funding for the year has been protected so it will not be reduced – as long as the PCC increases its council tax precept, the department said.

A public consultation is set to be held about the new proposed funding formula before it is adopted in the future.

A Hampshire police spokesman said: ‘This independent report shows that Hampshire received significantly lower national funding than almost every other police force and we welcome this commitment to fight for fairer funding.’