3. What the policy of the National Audit Office is on conducting regular reviews of the financial sustainability of police forces.
The National Audit Office’s work programme is a matter for the Comptroller and Auditor General, not the Public Accounts Commission. The NAO does not audit individual police forces, but through its access to the Home Office it published the report “Financial sustainability of police forces in England and Wales” in June 2015.
I am grateful for that answer. An independent assessment of police force funding would be welcome, not just on an individual force level, but as a whole. The hon. Gentleman is right that the NAO published an effective report two years ago, but the Government have claimed since then that they have protected police funding, which has been challenged by police and crime commissioners and the UK Statistics Authority. An independent assessment would be welcome, so I ask the hon. Gentleman to make that request of the NAO.
Of course I will pass that request to the Comptroller and Auditor General. The hon. Lady is right: although police forces have successfully reduced costs since 2011, the report that I mentioned has recommended that the Home Office works with other bodies to develop better information on the health of police services and early warnings of when a force might fail. Her question is apposite.
House of Commons Hansard
07 December 2017