Avon and Somerset commissioner pleads for fairer funding for police forces
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Police forces ‘need a fairer deal’ from Government to combat rising crime, according to Avon and Somerset’s Police and Crime Commissioner.
A National Audit Office (NAO) report has revealed recorded crime in the force area has risen by 39 per cent over the past three years – almost twice the rate the national average has increased.
The figures show there were 98,000 incidents in 2014-15 compared to more than 136,500 in 2016-17.
Despite the rise, charges made in Avon and Somerset have dropped by 10 per cent.
Avon and Somerset Constabulary’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), Sue Mountstevens, believes the current central Government police funding formula is ‘not fit for purpose’, with the money given to forces being reduced from more than £10,000 in the year 2010-2011 to around £7,000 in 2018-2019.
Ms Mountstevens said: “Over the past eight years we have made £80million of savings as a direct result of the government cutting central funding.
“We have lost more than 650 police officers and hundreds of policing staff, and we still need to find a further £16million of savings by 2023.
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“The current funding for policing is not sufficient to deal with growing demand and the existing funding formula is not fit for purpose.
“There are greater threats facing today’s service which are growing more complex and global, and less visible to local people whether that is extremism, child abuse or the demands of the mental health and social care crisis.
“Sustained funding cuts have meant every area of policing across the country is feeling the strain. We need a new deal from Government which ensures fairer funding for all police forces, and we need it now.”
Despite the rise in recorded crime, drugs offences in Avon and Somerset have fallen by 31 per cent since 2015.
The number of public order offences in the area has increased by more than 200 per cent and violent crimes are up by more than 75 per cent, while sex offences and possession of weapons offences have both seen significant rises.
Charges for all of these crimes have dropped over the past three years.