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Thames Valley PCC one of six in legal action threat to government

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Letter to Home Office follows proposed reform to police funding

THE Police and Crime Commissioner for the Thames Valley has set himself on a collision course with fellow Conservatives in Government after threatening to take the Home Office to court over new funding proposals.

Anthony Stansfeld, whose office is charged with improving efficiency within Thames Valley Police, said in a joint letter with other PCCs to the Government that a judicial review would be sought if the changes were not halted, arguing they would result in a drop in the police budget across the area.

He said: “I am of course disappointed that the letter, regarding the proposed funding formula, has been released before the Home Office has had a chance to respond.

“However, the police grant funding formula as it stands is badly flawed and deeply unfair, and the process of the consultation has been wholly inadequate.

“If the funding formula remains unchanged it will have a severe adverse impact on Thames Valley with our annual allocation of police grant decreasing by at least 2.6 per cent or £5.6m next year.

“This cut will be on top of the already anticipated Treasury Spending Review funding cuts that we believe will require us to make further annual savings of at least £50m by 2019/20.

“At this time we are asking the Home Office to re-appraise the proposed formula. If our concerns are not addressed we may consider legal action against the Home Office in the form of a judicial review of the process.”

If approved, the current proposals would have a wide-ranging impact on the 43 police forces across England and Wales and would see police funding partly based on socio-economic factors such as population size and the number of jobless households within the policing area.

Currently, police funding is based on a central government grant which stands at 90 per cent, and the remainder is paid for through council tax.

Last year, the central government spent £7.8bn in a model Home Secretary Theresa May argued is “complex and opaque”.

Defending the proposals she said: “Police reform is working.

“These changes have helped the police to deliver significant improvements while supporting the country to reduce the budget deficit.

“Frontline services have been protected with the proportion of officers on the frontline increasing and public confidence is rising.

“We must now finish the job of police reform. To achieve this, it is essential that the way the police forces in England and Wales are centrally funded is fair across all 43 forces, transparent to Police and Crime Commissioners and forces, and stable in the long term.”

Further details on the proposals will be announced by Chancellor George Osborne in a departmental spending review later this month.

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