Academic slams Government over police funding

Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw (right) with Chief Constable Steve Finnigan
Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw (right) with Chief Constable Steve Finnigan
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A leading academic has called the Government’s new funding formula for police – which will cost Lancashire Constabulary almost £25m a year –’not adequate’ and ‘problematic’.

Dr Les Humphreys, a lecturer in quantitative criminology from Lancaster University, tested the Government’s proposed funding formula at the request of Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw.

The academic was asked to undertake a review of the formula methodology when it was revealed Lancashire would lose £24.5m of its budget – equivalent to 13.5 per cent – purely as a result of the formula.

Dr Humphreys said the Government has selected just four out of 25 quantitative variables to calculate police demand – and therefore the amount of funding each force will need.

He added: “The Home Office should subject the proposals to a peer review as I am sure there would be some questions about the methodology used.”

Dr Humphreys said there was no statistical or theoretical evidence to justify why the four variables chosen by the Home Office had been used.

He added: “If the Home Office is trying to create an evidence-based policy it is not clear what the evidence is they have used. The statistical procedures used are not adequate and there is nothing to suggest the variables they have chosen are good indicators or not.

“The way the process has been undertaken is problematic and there is no evidence this is a good model.”

The cuts from the new funding model would be before an expected 25 to 40 per cent cut in funding due to austerity measures.

Chief Constable Steve Finnigan this week faced a grilling from a Commons Select Committee after he told The Gazette Lancashire residents would not be as safe as they are now if the proposed budget cuts go ahead.

Dr Humphreys’ report will be submitted to the Home Office as part of Lancashire’s response to the funding review consultation tomorrow.