Give police cash needed to fight crime, demands Wolverhampton MP Emma Reynolds
The Government has been accused of ignoring warnings over chronic crime levels in the West Midlands by failing to provide police with sufficient resources.
MPs have signed off on the 2019-20 police funding settlement, which will see West Midlands Police get £453 million, up £8.2m on last year's figure.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid has hailed the cash – which comes alongside an extra £18.8m through a bump in council tax – as the biggest increase in funding since 2010, allowing forces to recruit more officers.
But the deal has been slammed by Labour, with Wolverhampton North East MP Emma Reynolds accusing the Government of forcing through an unfair settlement.
“It beggars belief that the Government and Conservative MPs have pushed through another unfair police funding settlement which leaves West Midlands Police at a disadvantage compared to other areas," she said.
"Low-crime, leafy Surrey can raise a similar amount to the West Midlands in cash terms through council tax increases, but it only has half the population. That is why West Midlands Police deserves a fairer funding settlement from central government.
“Instead, since 2010 the West Midlands has faced £175m in government cuts, losing over 2,000 officers as a result.
Biggest rise in crime outside London
"Chief Constable Dave Thompson recently said he is ‘struggling to deliver a service to the public’ and ‘criminals know how stretched we are.’
"The Government has ignored his warning."
The West Midlands faced the biggest rise in crime outside of London last year, with an overall spike of 10 per cent and violent, sexual and weapons offences are up by more than 20 per cent.
The region's Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson has warned that even by raining council tax he will be left with little extra cash to bring in more officers.
Ms Reynolds added: “The West Midlands needs a genuine funding increase from the government to give the police the support they need to fight this rise in crime.”
Ministers have insisted that extra funding should be focused on four priority areas, including efficiency savings, an increase in the number of detectives, and tackling organised crime.
Policing Minister Nick Hurd said rising crime levels were partly down to better recording methods, but added: "Police are also having to deal with a real increase in crime on the streets.
"Our priority is public safety and this funding settlement shows that we remain as steadfast in our commitment to give the police the support they need to protect us all."