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Police chiefs criticise Government grant cuts
HOME Office cuts to North-East police force budgets are a cause for celebration for criminals, a senior official has claimed.
Dwindling grants to be dished out among the region’s forces in the 2014/15 financial year were announced last week, with Cleveland Police facing a reduction of £4.5m.
The area’s police and crime commissioner (PCC), Barry Coppinger, said: “The Government is denying £84m of grants to support local policing and reducing Cleveland’s grant by £4.5m for 2014/15.
“This means a 25 per cent cut in our government grant [over the past four] years, with more to come.
“The only people in Cleveland celebrating this will be the criminals.”
Elsewhere, the amount of funding received by Durham Police will fall by £2.7m in the coming financial year, with a drop of £5m for North Yorkshire and just under £1m for Northumbria Police.
Annoucing the proposals, policing minister Damian Green said: “Our decisions on police funding in 2014/15 will provide the police with the resources they need to carry out their important work.
“We recognise that the funding settlement remains challenging. However, there are areas where the police can continue to make further savings without affecting the level of service to the public.”
Durham PCC Ron Hogg joined his Cleveland counterpart in condemning the cuts.
He said: "At a time when the unemployment rate is ten per cent in the North-East, the Government has decided to further reduce the money allocated for local policing.
“Unfortunately these grant reductions inevitably mean fewer officers and staff.
"Police budgets are constantly being squeezed meaning future years look very challenging.
“The force needs to save almost £13m over the next three years, which is achievable, but will mean we have to do things differently.”
Mr Hogg said the practice of ‘top slicing’ funding for organisations such as HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and the Independent Police Complaints Commission meant forces such as his own would suffer.
He added: “More money is being taken from forces to fund inspection bodies, which come in and tell us what to do.
“This is money that could be better used delivering local policing.”
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