The government has announced a 7% increase to the policing budget, up to £1.1billion. This represents up to £16.9 billion in total for the financial year 2022/23.
The increase is said to help support the delivery of the Beating Crime Plan which sets out the government’s strategic approach to cutting crime. The plan gives the detail of the areas where efforts will be focused, the places, the people and the criminal enterprises fuelling the drug trade.
The “bold new measures to drive down crime” are set out in the plan:
- Reconnecting the police with the public – every person will have digital access to the police via an online platform. Interactive police services will be available in one place with names and contact details for neighbourhood officers.
- Improve the response from 101 and 999 calls – league tables are to be developed for answering calls and making sure the public know the responsiveness of their local force.
- Intervention with young people – the intervention is to keep young people away and safe from violence. The plan is to focus on those admitted to A&E with knife wounds or following contact with the police. Specialist teams will be sent into schools in areas where serious violence is an issue to support young people to reintegrate into education.
- Electronic monitoring – the use of this type of monitoring will be increased across a further 13 police areas for serious acquisitive offenders. The focus will be on tracking those released from prison in order to deter and detect further acquisitive crimes.
- Alcohol tags – the tags detect alcohol in the sweat of the user. They will be used on offenders of “drink-fuelled” crime released from prison in Wales. The use of the tags is to help change behaviour and reduce violence and alcohol-related offending.
- Employment – prison leavers will be encouraged to secure employment with the civil service aiming to recruit 1,000 prison leavers by the end of 2023.
- Knife crime – the conditions on the use of section 60 searches will be permanently relaxed to enable the police to take more knives off the streets.
- Police and Crime Commissioners – the role of PCCs will be expanded, and they will be given tools and levers needed to drive down crime and anti-social behaviour.
A recent government report set out that their targeting of criminals has resulted in a 14% fall in overall crime, recruitment of 11,053 additional police officers, the closure of over 1,500 county lines, nearly 16,000 knives removed from the streets and 300,000 young people reached through the Violence Reduction Units.
Funding to the PCCs is also increasing by an additional £796 million if there is full take-up of precept flexibility. The PCCs will have up to £10 of precept flexibility per Band D property over the next three years to use. The police precept is the way each police force raises additional funding for policing activity through council tax.
In 2022 the government says the aim is to see:
- more officers to specifically tackle serious organised crime;
- a National Crime Laboratory will be created to drive the use of innovative data science to prevent and reduce crime;
- the testing of ways to investigate rape cases;
- that victims of rape and serious sexual crimes are not left without a mobile phone for more than 34 hours;
- an increase of the monitoring of responsiveness to 101 and 999 calls;
- investment in law enforcement intelligence and investigations to tackle economic crime;
- improvements in gathering intelligence relating to firearms;
- investment in tackling fraud;
- investment in major law enforcement programmes and IT capabilities.
The publication of the provisional funding settlement opens a period consultation and the final police funding settlement will need to be debated in Parliament.
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