Call to end ‘perverse’ police cash crisis
Ministers need to prioritise police funding and end the "perverse situation" where more cash is spent on foreign aid, a senior officer has claimed.
Sgt Richard Cooke, chair of West Midlands Police Federation, wants to see "a paradigm shift" from the Government to prioritise the country's struggling police forces.
The total police budget over the last was £12.3 billion, with £8.6 billion funded by the Government, while in 2016 the UK spent £13.4bn on overseas aid, 0.7 per cent of GDP.
Meanwhile funding shortfalls over the last nine years have led to forces in England and Wales losing more than 20,000 officers, at a time when crime levels have rocketed.
Sgt Cooke said: "We want to see a paradigm shift from the Government where they start to see policing as a priority.
"They spend more money on foreign aid than they do on the police service, and it shows where their priorities lie.
"A lot of people would say the situation is perverse, and that we should be much further up on the list."
Home Secretary Sajid Javid said the police funding settlement for 2019-20 represented a rise of almost £1bn, although more than half of it comes from forces raising their council tax precepts.
Britain's foreign aid spending has long been a source of controversy, with critics saying the cash would be better allocated to flagging services on home soil.
In a new report, Tory MP Bob Seely said the current bill was likely to be much higher than the official figure, due to hundreds of millions spent not being classed as Overseas Development Assistance.
"One of the bizarre things we found when we were doing our research is that we don't know exactly how much money we spend abroad," he said.
"People complain about the 0.7 per cent target. Actually we spend more than 0.7, maybe we spend more than 0.8 abroad."
The report has been backed by former Foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who has called for a review of development spending.
He said he wanted to make sure that such a "huge sum of money" was spent "more in line with Britain's political, commercial and diplomatic interests".
Oxfam has defended foreign aid spending, with spokesman Jon Date saying: "The primary purpose of aid is – and should continue to be – to fight poverty."
The Dfid said the UK's commitment to foreign aid "contributes to Britain's reputation as a development superpower".