§ The Minister for Crime Reduction, Policing, and Community Safety (Ms Hazel Blears)
I have today placed in the Library a copy of the Home Secretary's proposals for allocation of police grant for England and Wales in 2004–05. The Home Secretary and I intend to implement the proposals subject to consideration of any representations we receive about them, and to the approval of the House.
Funding the police properly remains a top priority for this Government. The settlement for 2004–05 builds on significant extra resources for policing in England and Wales over the last three years. Since 2000–01 total provision for policing to be supported by grant or spent centrally on services for the police has risen by over £2.3 billion or over 30 per cent.
Total provision for policing to be supported by grant in 2004–05 will be £10,086 million. This is a cash rise of £403 million or 4.2 per cent. over the provision for 2003–04. This includes principal formula police grant, specific grants, capital related grants, direct Home Office spending and the formula spending on which revenue support grant is based.
I have decided, exceptionally this year, to provide a standard general grant increase of 3.25 per cent. for each police authority in England and Wales. I recognise the financial pressures on police authorities and I am concerned to avoid excessive burdens on local taxpayers. My approach should help ensure that precepts are kept at a sustainable level and that policing services continue to improve. The grant increase is sufficient to cover inflation, in particular the pay increases announced for next year.
In order to do this, I have added £140 million from wider Home Office resources and I have transferred into general police grant provision amounting to £100 million from existing and planned specific grants and central spending. These transfers will give police authorities greater scope to determine their own spending. We launched the National Policing Plan 2004–07 earlier this month. The overarching aim of the plan is to deliver enhanced police performance and public reassurance. Particular regard is given to the Home Secretary's priorities to provide a citizen focused service and to tackle the crimes that blight the lives of many. Other key priorities include tackling anti-social behaviour and disorder; continuing to reduce burglary, vehicle crime, robbery and drug-related crime and combating serious and organised crime. This settlement will support the priorities outlined in the National Policing Plan and continue to support our reform and modernisation process.32WS
There is continuation funding for recruits under the Crime Fighting Fund and Community Support Officers who are playing an important role reassuring the public on our streets; more funding from the Street Crime Initiative that has seen street crime reduce by an estimated 7 per cent. in England and Wales in April—June 2003 compared with the same period last year; Basic Command Unit funding to deal with policing problems most effectively at local level; continuation of the Rural Policing Fund to improve policing for communities with the most widespread populations; funding from the DNA Expansion Programme and other schemes to allow forces to make the most of new technology.
In this statement, I want to outline the wider provision for support for the police service in England and Wales.
THE POLICE GRANT SETTLEMENT
We propose to distribute the settlement as follows:
Table 1: Police funding settlement for 20040–05 compared to 2003–04 £million1 2003–04 Provision Variance 2004–05 £million Per cent 1. Direct funding for police authorities: Home Office Police grant 4,288 4,380 92 2.1 Formula spending share2 3,776 3,988 212 5.6 Specific grants for police authorities 663 657 -6 -0.9 2. Capital Grants and Support 333 355 22 6.6 3. Central spending on policing3 623 706 83 13.3 Grand total 9,683 10,086 403 4.2 1 Rounded to £ million 2 Includes Revenue Support Grant/National Non Domestic Rates grants and product of assumed national council tax precept. Both years' figures exclude technical adjustment for resource equalisation (£600 million). 3 Includes provision for NCS/NCIS and Airwave core service charges.
Police funding proposals within the Local Government finance system are being announced by my right hon. Friend Ministerial title the member for Greenwich and Woolwich today, and by the Welsh Assembly Government.
Provisional general policing grants (ie Home Office Police Grant, Revenue Support Grant and National Non Domestic Rates) for English and Welsh police authorities in 2004–05 compared with 2003–04 are given in Table 2.33WS
METROPOLITAN POLICE FUNDING
Grant for the MPA will increase from £1,764.1 million to £1,822.3 million; a cash increase of 3.25 per cent. in line with all other police authorities. I have increased the formula provision for the MPA national and capital city functions from £202 million to £207 million to keep the formula up to date so that the MPA will receive appropriate benefit in future years. The MPA will receive separately provision for counter-terrorism, continuing funding made available this year. Details will be announced at a later stage. £15 million will also be made available to fund 750 CSOs recruited since 2002. The MPA will be eligible for specific grants from the Crime Fighting Fund, the Basic Command Unit Fund and the Street Crime Initiative.
SPECIFIC GRANTS FOR POLICE AUTHORITIES
In addition to increased general grant, police authorities will continue to receive extra funding through several specific grants for particular schemes. Targeted grants were introduced as a direct response to what the police service and the public told us they wanted. Specific grants enable us to target funds to the areas where they are particularly needed.
The measure of the success of specific funding is now clear. We have record police numbers helped by the Crime Fighting Fund; increased support for those living in rural areas; the Street Crime Initiative has helped reduce street crime; recruitment problems in London and the South East have been tackled through increased or new allowances for officers; the presence on our streets of Community Support Officers is providing the public with reassurance.
Provision for specific grants in 2004–05 will be £657 million, a little lower than in 2003–04. This has enabled us to maximise general grant which may be spent at the discretion of police authorities.
THE MAIN SPECIFIC GRANTS ARE:
Crime Fighting Fund: £277 million will be provided to forces in 2004–05. This Fund has been a remarkable success. With the help of this Fund the Home Secretary's target of 132,500 officers by March 2004 was exceeded by nearly 4,000 this August. We will continue to pay for the 9,000 police officers recruited between April 2000 and March 2003 through the Crime Fighting Fund. I intend to pay for 60 per cent of the cost of the further 650 officers recruited under the Fund in 2003–04. The scheme will not be expanded further in 2004–05.
Counter Terrorism: As last year, we will continue to provide additional funding to the Police Service to enable it to respond to the increased threat from international terrorism. This funding will be provided to both the Metropolitan Police Service and provincial forces in England and Wales and is in addition to existing funding streams for Counter Terrorism and Security.
Basic Command Unit (BCU) funds: £50 million will be provided for BCUs. These are at the forefront of local policing. The grant is targeted towards forces with BCUs in high crime areas to help reduce crime in partnership with Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships, The money is directed so that all forces in England and Wales receive a proportion of the pot.
Special Priority Payments: The pay and conditions package agreed by the PNB in May 2002 introduced new elements into police pay such as payments for the most experienced officers who can demonstrate a high level of professional competence and extra rewards for officers in 34WS the most difficult and demanding posts. I have split the allocation for 2004–05. £50 million will be available as a specific grant for special priority payments in 2004–05. A further £9 million has been rolled back into general grant.
Community Support Officers (CSOs): £41 million funding will be available to support the costs of CSOs who free up police officer time, play a crucial role in providing reassurance and who have some powers to deal with low level crime and anti-social behaviour. The provision will continue to fund CSOs recruited in 2002–03 and 2003–04.
Rural Policing Fund: £30 million is again provided for the particular needs of the 31 forces with the most widespread populations.
Street Crime Initiative: Additional funding of around £25 million is being made available to support continued police operations against street crime. Distribution will be determined in December 2003.
We will, as well, make available funding for the following:
Seventy five per cent. of the cost of the London and South East Allowances (£49 million).
Funding support for the cost of free travel for Metropolitan and City of London officers (£3.2 million).
Promotion of volunteering within the Police Service (£7 million).
Workforce Modernisation Implementation Fund. We have allocated £5 million in 2004–05 to support forces in developing an effective skills mix of police staff and police officers.
The Home Secretary is committed to the DNA Expansion Programme and the benefits that it is delivering. Funding is provided for the continuation Programme.
POLICE AUTHORITY CAPITAL
The Home Secretary and I intend to allocate provision of capital grant for 2004–05 in December.
In addition capital grants for the introduction of Airwave will be made available to those authorities taking up the radio communications service in 2004–05.
There will be capital provision for the case and custody project of the Criminal Justice IT system. This will be supported by resource funding.
£40 million is being provided for the capital costs of developing the Metropolitan Police Authority's Command Control and Communications Information (C3i) System. In total £140 million is being provided towards this project.
CENTRAL SPENDING ON POLICING
Central spending on policing will total £706 million. The main specific items are the DNA expansion programme, the National Strategy for Police Information Systems and the Airwave contractor's core charges. In addition, provision is made for the costs of organisations supporting policing, mainly the Police Information Technology Organisation (PITO), Centrex (the Central Police Training and Development Authority), National Criminal Intelligence Service/ National Crime Squad and scientific and technical facilities.35WS
The settlement continues to take account of the Home Secretary's commitment to improve efficiency and effectiveness in the police service. Guidance on efficiency plans for 2004–05 will be issued shortly. Future Police Grant allocations will be considered in the light of police authorities meeting the current target for 2 per cent. efficiency improvements. The efficiency target will be examined during the Spending Review 2004. Targets reflecting each authority's circumstances may be more appropriate than a universal one. We shall also be considering the balance between cash releasing efficiencies and those which are the result of service improvements.
We are continuing to invest substantially in the police service to ensure delivery of an effective and efficient police service that has the support and confidence of all communities. We have listened carefully to the concerns of police authorities in determining this settlement. We have ensured that all forces will receive an increase of 3.25 per cent. in general grant which is well above general inflation of 2.6 per cent. This settlement provides the resources to help the police do their job more effectively, building on a strong platform of record police officer numbers, a growing policing community and reduced levels of crime.
Table 2: Police grant allocations by English and Welsh police authority Police Authority 2003–2004 Allocation1 2004–2005 Allocation1 %Change4 £m £m English Shire forces Avon & Somerest 157.1 162.2 3.3% Bedfordshire 60.1 62.1 3.3% Cambridgeshire 71.1 73.4 3.3% Cheshire 103.9 107.2 3.3% Cleveland 84.1 86.8 3.3% Crumbria 57.7 59.6 3.3% Derbyshire 97.9 101.2 3.3% Devon & Cornwall 161.5 166.7 3.3% Dorset 61.6 63.6 3.3% Durham 81.5 84.2 3.3% Essex 155.9 160.9 3.3% Gloucestershire 57.0 58.9 3.3% Hampshire 184.5 190.5 3.3% Hertfordshire 101.5 104.8 3.3% Humberside 110.9 114.6 3.3% Kent 176.8 182.6 3.3% Lancashire 177.1 182.9 3.3% Leicestershire 98.8 102.0 3.3% Lincolnshire 58.7 60.6 3.3% Norfolk 79.6 82.2 3.3% North Yorkshire 70.40 72.7 3.3% Northamptonshire 62.2 64.3 3.3% Nottinghamshire 123.6 127.6 3.3% Staffordshire 105.8 109.2 3.3% Suffolk 63.9 66.0 3.3% Surrey 85.4 88.2 3.3% Sussex 153.1 158.1 3.3% Thames Valley 205.9 212.6 3.3% Watwickshire 48.2 49.8 3.3% West Mercia 104.4 107.7 3.3% Wilstshire 58.7 60.6 3.3% English Metropolitan forces2 Greater Manchester 380.8 393.3 3.3% Merseyside 240.5 248.4 3.3% Northumbria 214.3 221.4 3.3% South Yorkshire 172.3 178.0 3.3% West Midlands 386.5 399.4 3.3% West Yorkshire 289.4 298.9 3.3%
Table 2: Police grant allocations by English and Welsh police authority Police Authority 2003–2004 Allocation1 2004–2005 Allocation1 %Change4 £m £m London forces GLA-Police 1764.1 1822.3 3.3% City of London 32.5 32.7 N/A English Total 6,699.2 6918.2 3.3% Welsh forces3 Dyfed-Powys 49.3 50.9 3.3% Gwent 69.6 71.8 3.3% North Wales 73.3 75.7 3.3% South Wales 162.9 168.2 3.3% Welsh total 355.1 366.6 3.3% Total 7,054.3 7,284.9 3.3% Notes: 1. Rounded to the nearest £100,000. Grant as calculated under the Local Government Finance Report (England) and Local Government Finance Report (Wales). This includes the Metropolitan Police special payment, and the effects of floors and ceilings. 2 Figures for the City of London are Police Grant only. RSG is allocated to the City of London in respect of all functions and is unhypothecated. The City of London is grouped with education authorities for the calculation of grant floors and ceilings and receives an increase of 10.57 per cent. 3 Figures for Welsh exclude any adjustments for capital financing. In addition to the general grant increase, North Wales will receive support for a new PFI project. 4 A "Floor" increase of 3.25 per cent. has been applied to all police authorities. Minor variations from 3.25 per cent. in the increase in grant occur mainly due to capital financing adjustments. Percentage increases are rounded to one decimal place.