West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has challenged the Policing Minister to properly fund Lancashire Constabulary and commit to supporting the promised additional 153 police officers.
During Home Office Parliamentary Questions, MP Rosie took the opportunity to raise the shortfall in funding for Lancashire police, who require an extra £9.8m each year to sustain the Government promise of 153 police officers.
However, Police Minister Kit Malthouse disingenuously responded stating that Rosie had confused her figures and that Lancashire had an increase of £22.6m.
Rosie Cooper MP, who has written to the Minister asking him to clarify his remarks, said:
“Lancashire Constabulary has had its number of police officers cut by 750 since 2010 under the Conservatives. This Conservative Government are attempting to repair the damage and has made a commitment to providing resource for an additional 153 officers, still leaving a shortfall of nearly 600 officers.
“However, in my correspondence with the Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner, it is clear that the Home Office is not fully funding or supporting the recruitment and delivery of these promised officers, as it has only provided £4.3m of the full year cost of those officers which requires £9.8m each future year to cover salaries, pensions and on-costs.
“I gave the Minister the chance to show that the Conservative Government was serious about its commitment to the police and tackling crime but rather than answer the question the Minister tried to confuse by quoting overall funding figures.
“I have written to the Minister providing him with the facts and figures and asked that he clarify his statement and subsequently commit to fully funding his Government’s promised police officers so Lancashire Constabulary can put more bobbies back on the street here in West Lancashire.”
Lancashire has been allocated funding of £4.3 million to deliver an additional 153 police officers by the end of this financial year, but that award reflects a part-year cost, as 153 officers cannot be employed for the whole year because the cost is £9.8 million. So will the Minister commit to providing the full funding for 2021-22, and for future years, to sustain these additional officers?
The hon. Lady is perhaps confusing her figures, shall we say? Lancashire police received a £22.6 million increase in funding this year, which will allow it to recruit another 153 police officers over the next 12 months—less than 12 months now—up to March next year. It is making good progress, and has recruited 66 already.