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Police Funding Formula

Volume 743: debated on Monday 15 January 2024

Work to update the funding formula is continuing, and I will update the House as soon as I can. The House should be aware that next year, 2024-25, police and crime commissioners funding frontline police will see their budgets increase by up to £922 million, which is an increase of about 6%.

There is cross-party agreement that the current funding formula is unfair for police in Bedfordshire, with the Conservatives’ own PCC acknowledging that there is simply no meat left on the bone for local police. My constituents are fed up with being told that they have never had it so good, or being fobbed off with one-off grants. Will the Minister commit to a date to finally deliver a fair funding formula for my communities?

What I will commit to, as far as the people of Bedfordshire are concerned, is an increase in funding of £10.2 million for next year, 2024-25. That is an extra 6.5% compared with this year. They will also have 1,455 police officers. That is about 200 more than Bedfordshire’s police force has ever had at any time in its history.

It is not unusual to hear from two Bedfordshire MPs when it comes to the police funding formula, because this goes all the way back to the last Labour Government, but there is a cross-party view in Bedfordshire that our police force is underfunded. Will my right hon. Friend agree to meet all Bedfordshire MPs so that we can press the case for increases in funding for Bedfordshire Police?

I am always happy to meet my hon. Friend to discuss these issues. As I say, Bedfordshire Police will receive an extra £10.2 million next year—an increase of about 6.5%—which I am sure will be welcome up and down the county, but I am of course happy to meet my hon. Friend whenever he would like.

Police forces are not being listened to when they raise serious concerns about the funding formula and how it limits their ability to tackle town centre crime. The British Retail Consortium reports that more than 850 acts of violence or abuse against shop workers happen every single day. Everyone has a right to feel safe at work, so when will the Home Secretary accept that retail crime is out of control and accept Labour’s plan to introduce a new law to protect retail workers from violence and actually stand up for shop workers?

Theft offences are down by 47% since 2010, of course—those are the crime survey figures—but we have recently launched a retail crime action plan, where police are committing to prioritising attendance at incidents of retail crime and always following reasonable lines of inquiry in relation to shoplifting, assaults against shop workers and other forms of offending. In addition, we legislated in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022—