West Midlands Police in line to receive extra £36 million but chief warns settlement isn't enough

Police chiefs in the West Midlands are set to receive around £36 million more funding than last year to help crack down on crime.

David Jamieson
David Jamieson

The Home Office announced the £35.9m boost for West Midlands Police as part of the 2021/2022 funding package – the largest increase to a police budget outside of London.

It means West Midlands Police will be able to recruit a further 360 officers. The force has lost more than 2,000 officers since 2010.

Labour police officials have welcomed the funding, but said it "does not undo a decade of austerity".

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: "Officers across the West Midlands have been working hard this year to keep us all safe and I am grateful for their efforts.

"This funding package means they can deliver even more on their communities’ priorities – less crime, more officers and safer streets."

Ministers say the extra funding will be used to recruit more officers and tackle serious crime – including organised crime and violence.

The policing budget for the region will rise from £619.7m to £655.6m from next year, marking the biggest increase for a force outside of London.

Ministers say the funding package will mean an increase of up to £636m across the country, providing Police and Crime Commissioners raise council tax precepts.

West Midlands PCC David Jamieson said: "After years of telling the Government that cuts to police forces would be followed by sharp rises in crime I am pleased my message has finally chimed.

"I am, however, very concerned that given the government took away more than 2,200 of our officers over a 10 year period, it only plans to give us back just over half.

"Our budget has stabilised, but this settlement does not undo a decade of austerity. It's pleasing to see that the government is supporting my work over the last six years to find efficiency savings.

"It is endorsing the difficult decision I made to sell largely empty police buildings to protect police officer numbers from further cuts.

"The Government has also made it clear that I should raise council tax next year to fund the force. Making local people pay more is not right in these difficult times and is something I will raise with the Home Office."

Conservative PCC candidate Jay Singh-Sohal said: "It is good to see continued government investment into law and order, this funding boost of £35.9m is the second highest in England and should make a significant impact on increasing strong police presence in our communities. There are no more excuses for tackling rising crime.

"What we need now is a PCC who will prioritise police over politics, stop police station closures and ensure this investment goes into robust measures to get crime down in our region."

The funding settlement is provisional pending a consultation – with the final settlement set to be debated in Parliament ahead of the new financial year.

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