Suffolk MPs call on government to give county’s police more support amid funding fears
PUBLISHED: 07:30 26 February 2020
Two Suffolk MPs have called on the government to review police funding amid fears the county receives an unfair share of national grants compared to others.
Currently, the constabulary is set to receive a £9.2million share of the £1.1billion in national government funding, although Waveney MP Peter Aldous has said it will see Suffolk underfunded compared to the rest of country.
Although Mr Aldous welcomed the funding, he said it equates to only £152 spent per head of population in Suffolk, compared to the national average of £192.
If Suffolk did receive the national average, it would see the constabulary's budget boosted by nearly £30m, and if it received the same amount of Home Office funding as Norfolk, it would see its annual grant increased by £4m.
Ipswich MP Tom Hunt joined Mr Aldous in raising the issue in the House of Commons on Monday, February 24.
Mr Aldous said it is a "significant issue" which needs to be resolved as soon as possible. He said: "This has been an issue for some years and it's something I have been highlighting alongside police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore for some time now.
"My view is that here is a lot of work to be done, but I think we made a breakthrough in parliament in that ministers recognised there is a need for the funding formula to be reviewed.
"We need to review the way we fund the police as it disadvantages Suffolk. However the government are committed to fixing that.
"This is something that simply will not go away and needs to be acted on."
Mr Aldous did however praise Suffolk Constabulary's relationship with its Norfolk counterpart, with collaboration since 2010 saving £19m for the county.
Mr Aldous added: "If we do receive more funds we would see more neighbourhood policing, more police on the street dealing with issues of anti-social behaviour - that can lead on to becoming serious policing issues."
The government has committed to increase national funding, with £700million pledged to fund 6,000 new officers.
Mr Hunt said: "I welcome this government's commitment to increasing police funding, including the £700 million for 6,000 new police officers. Yet this is also an example of how Suffolk goes under-resourced.
"My understanding is that Suffolk will only get 54 of the 6,000 extra officers despite the fact that Suffolk has the third lowest staffing numbers relative to population when compared to all other forces."