New Police Funding Is ‘Potential Disaster’ For South Yorkshire

The Government’s new police funding announcement is “a potential disaster” for the force, South Yorkshire Police Federation has said.

The Government claims forces will get up to £922 million extra funding for 2024/25, but this amounts to a reduction in funding when considering the payroll commitments of forces. The deficit can be made up by a local rise in council tax, but the Police Federation of England and Wales has said it is the worst financial support forces have received in recent years, calling the police precept a “postcode lottery”.

South Yorkshire Police Federation Chair Steve Kent said the underfunding will mean the force will have to make cuts.

He said: “The Government and HMIC are demanding more from policing at a time when we’re already stretched to the limit. Now they’ve announced this ‘financial support’. But for a force like South Yorkshire, which is one of the poorest forces in the country because of the ridiculous funding formula, this is a potential disaster for us.

“It will mean there’s little opportunity for growth, and that we’re going to have to make cuts within the organisation that will have an effect on the public.

“We need to take a moment to stand front and centre and point out to the public and the media that when you start criticising policing, policing is going to suffer and standards across the country are likely to fall.

“We cannot continue to cope on the red line, like our officers are, when we’re not getting the financial infrastructure and support to actually make progress. Policing across the country is being set up to fail.”

It will hit people particularly hard in South Yorkshire, Steve continued: “Even though we have higher crime than more affluent forces, we get less funding, which is an utterly bizarre scenario. So this is a disaster and I think people really do need to wake up and see what the consequences of this are going to be.

“Contrary to popular belief, we’re still not at the officer numbers we should be at. Our peak numbers were around 3,400, and we’re still only at 3,100. And on the back of that, the force will have cuts to budgets, which is going to have an impact on equipment and technology. It’s yet another kick in the teeth for policing.”