Police Funding

MQT on 2015-09-16
Session date: 
September 16, 2015
Question By: 
Joanne McCartney
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


How will the Home Office's proposed changes to the Police Allocation Formula affect London?


Answer for Police Funding

Answer for Police Funding

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Let me just say that I share very much your concern about this, Joanne.  It is a very difficult situation in which the MPS finds itself, and indeed other metropolitan forces in the big cities.  Clearly, the funding is potentially being skewed away from cities towards other areas.  That cannot be right, given the massive growth in London’s population and the real challenges we face. 

However, you will appreciate we are at the beginning of the stage of negotiation now about that funding formula and also about the overall package of funding from the Home Office.  There are two things in play now and we have to make sure that the needs of London are properly understood by both. 

Joanne McCartney AM:  Yes, we entirely agree with that, Mr Mayor.  In the consultation that the Home Office is doing about replacing the policing formula, under various scenarios it has the MPS budget reducing by up to 43%, which obviously decimates London’s police as we know it.  These figures are not being given out as part of the consultation.  Therefore police forces are being asked to respond to a consultation where the Home Office is refusing to release the data that lies behind the changes. 

The Police and Crime Commissioners Treasurers’ Society has come up with possible scenarios that lead to that 43% possibility for the MPS.  The Police and Crime Commissioners of the West Midlands and Northumbria have stated that this indicates a shift away from city policing to rural.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Yes --

Joanne McCartney AM:  They have said that they are investigating the possibility of legal action against the Home Office.  Obviously, in your position as Police and Crime Commissioner of the major police force in the country, would you talk to those two Police Commissioners and others who are like‑minded and talk about what you can do together, perhaps resorting to legal action?  Otherwise, unless you take the lead in this, we could be looking at a disaster for our police funding.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  I share that concern.  You may have had a copy of the letter I have written to Theresa May [Rt Hon Theresa May MP, Home Secretary] on this. 

Joanne McCartney AM:  No, I have not.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  We are certainly very happy to email that to you.  We can send that letter.

This is something that really needs to be sorted out.  The funding formula cannot be changed in a way to disadvantage the areas where the population is growing and where we have a significant challenge from crime.  It is a question of such obviously immediate, burning importance that it is something that the Government is going to focus on in the next few days.  I will initiate a conversation but, as you can imagine --

Joanne McCartney AM:  I do know that the MPS and the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) are extremely worried about this and, as an Assembly, on the Police and Crime Committee, we have written objecting to this as well.  Therefore, I think we are all singing from the same hymn sheet.  Do you agree that it is wrong for the Home Office to put out a consultation about changing the formula while refusing to give the details behind it?

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  Yes, the formula has to be transparent and you have to understand on what basis this funding is to be allocated.  What we are hearing is that there are some rural police forces that are finding it very hard to make their books add up for one reason or another.  We think that there are times that you should go towards an amalgamation of police forces around the country in order to save money.  That would be resisted at the moment by central Government and that is a pity because it is an obvious route forward.  It would be a great pity if the funding in the metropolis, where it is really needed was cut.

Joanne McCartney AM:  A final question: will you talk to the [Police and Crime] Commissioners of the West Midlands and Northumbria and any other like‑minded Commissioner who wants to come together?  A powerful group would be very helpful. 

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  I certainly will ensure that we have contact.  MOPAC is already in contact with Tony Lloyd[Police and Crime Commissioner, Greater Manchester] and with the Commissioner of the West Midlands.

Joanne McCartney AM:  Vera Baird [Police and Crime Commissioner, Northumbria], yes.

Boris Johnson MP (Mayor of London):  We are not yet at the stage of taking legal action.  I do not exclude it but I want to make it clear that at this point in time that this is something that we think is an urgent political concern at the moment.