I am seeking urgent clarification on funding for Welsh Police Forces following the Spring Statement.
The Chancellor, who delivered the Spring Statement today (13 March 2019), stated that:
“I can announce that The Prime Minister and I have decided, exceptionally, to make available immediately to the police forces in England an additional £100m over the course of the next year, ring-fenced pay for additional overtime targeted specifically on knife crime.”
I asked the Chancellor if this funding only applied to England as the Home Office is responsible for police funding in England and Wales and the lack of investment is unfair and unprecedented.
Knife crime in Wales has trebled in some parts of Wales, according to Home Office statistics. North Wales Police saw an increase of 211% with 277 cases in 2018. Other forces have also seen an increase, such as Gwent (236% increase), Dyfed-Powys Police (a near doubling) and South Wales.
There was total confusion in the Chamber as the Chancellor desperately looked to his Treasury Ministers for assurances of where the funding was going. He finally confirmed that the money was for both England and Wales.
The Chancellor showed his true colours today when he completely forgot Wales existed in his police funding announcement. The speech missed Wales off completely meaning that we were left with the impression that only England would get £100m in funding for police overtime.
The desperate scrabble for information at the Dispatch Box demonstrated a Chancellor who didn’t know the intricacies of his policies. It was utter confusion.
Our police are overstretched, underfunded and poorly resourced. Our officers are doing their best with the burden of dramatic cuts to their funding. It has placed a heavy burden on local tax payers because central government cuts mean Council Tax increases. A £100m one-off bung to our police will not even scratch the surface of nine years of cuts. We have lost 100 police officers in North Wales and we desperately need them back to tackle crime and deliver Neighbourhood Policing.