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Police Funding Settlement

Volume 535: debated on Monday 7 November 2011

The spending review settlement for the police is challenging but manageable, and we will not reopen the debate on the overall level of reductions. As part of the provisional settlement process for 2012-13 we will provide provisional allocations for police authorities, which will be subject to consultation before parliamentary approval.

Some 16,000 jobs nationally and 627 in the Northumbria police force are to be slashed. Will the Minister look again at the police funding settlement to prevent those huge cuts in front-line services in the police force?

I have explained that we are not in a position to reconsider the four-year funding allocation that has been made, because we have to deal with the deficit. Opposition Members simply do not seem to understand that. The police can make savings in ways that protect front-line services, as we heard earlier, and we are committed to ensuring that that continues to be the case.

In its White Paper, the Home Office said that from 2012-13, the police and crime panels would have the power to trigger a referendum on a policing precept recommended by the police and crime commissioner. When did the Secretary of State decide that that power would be better exercised by herself?

I do not accept the premise of my hon. Friend’s question. I have committed to meeting him to discuss the issue, but we believe it important both that the panel has the power of veto over an excessive precept set by a police and crime commissioner, which has now been legislated for, and that the public have the ability to reject an excessive precept through the referendum lock. That is the subject of separate measures that are before the House in the Localism Bill.