HC Deb 26 April 1999 vol 330 cc73-4W
36. Mr. Sutcliffe

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had with police authorities on the funding of policing in the poorest neighbourhoods. [80988]

Mr. Boateng

In discussions with Ministers on funding issues, police authorities have recognised that the allocation of resources and the deployment of officers within the force area are matters for determination locally within the overall budget. Police authority budgets are set to increase on average by 3.1 per cent. in 1999/2000. In addition, local authorities can make grants to police authorities for additional policing services in particular neighbourhoods.

In addition, we recently announced the shortlist of the first eleven targeted policing projects under the crime reduction programme. These projects are worth about £5 million in total out of the £32 million which will be made available for targeted policing over the next three years as part of the programme. Ministers recognise the importance of ensuring that deprived and disadvantaged neighbourhoods are amongst those who benefit from these and other crime reduction initiatives.

Mr. Todd

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment he has made of the relationship between funding of police forces, the number of officers directly serving the public and a force's performance. [80984]

Mr. Boateng

The Annual Audit Commission report on Police Performance, published in January, found that there is no direct link between increased spending and improved performance in police forces. The report also showed that success in detecting crime does not depend solely on the numbers of police officers available.

Partnerships between the police and other agencies, targeted policing, better use of information technology, and the efficient and effective use of available resources all have an important part to play in improving police performance. As part of the drive towards Best Value, we are working with the police service to strengthen the link between increased spending and improved performance.