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West Midlands Police to lose £4m more than feared in new funding cut

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Cash-strapped police forces will be even worse off than they feared after Government cuts, the West Midlands commissioner has said.

West Midlands Police will lose £23 million in funding in 2014/15, £4m more than had been expected.

Police and crime commissioner Bob Jones said the cuts were adding 'insult to injury'.

But he said it would not stop him recruiting 550 more frontline officers.

The recruitment pledge came despite force needing to axe the 1,100 officers by 2015 as part of £126m savings.

Mr Jones, who was elected last year, said: "The additional cut has come from top-slicing the police grant and the way the government's use of funding 'damping' means we don't get our fair share of national funding, and instead subsidise other forces. We now get over £44m less a year than the national police funding formula says we need.

"West Midlands Police faces the worst funding position in the country by a large margin.

"As a result, relatively low crime areas see their community safety funding topped up while the West Midlands suffers.

"Community safety funding pays for local schemes that address local priorities and needs.

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"Despite these unfair cuts from central government, I have committed to maintain funding in 2014-15 at the level for 2013-14 but the cut means the shortfall will have to be made up from elsewhere in the policing budget.

"The additional top-slicing of police funding adds insult to injury and causes deep concern.

He added: "I am incredulous that this is what the Home Secretary calls 'protecting' the police budget."

Mr Jones said that the force would have to look at the impact of the loss of the additional £4m.

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"We will need to use more of our reserves sooner than we had planned," he said.

"But we will not be reducing the number of people we are going to recruit."

Altogether, West Midlands Police will have £475.9 million in government grants to spend in 2014/15.

Staffordshire Police will have £123.5m and West Mercia will have £128.3m.

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