The Commissioner and Chief Constable for Dorset Police wrote to the Home Office in January 2017 to formally express their disappointment with the funding settlement provided to the PCC.
The provisional grant report for 2017-18 represents a cash reduction in funding for Dorset Police.
The implication of this decision is that the Commissioner is expected to increase the local precept by the maximum available simply to maintain funding at flat cash levels compared to 2015/16. This reduces the local control he has while still resulting in a real terms reduction in resources once inflationary factors are accounted for.
A significant part of our approach is working in a Strategic Alliance with Devon and Cornwall Police to maximise opportunities for improved service delivery and increased efficiencies but the settlement presents continuing challenges.
The Commissioner has previously backed reports calling for fairer funding for rural forces.
Sadly, we have seen three terrorist attacks in quick succession in the UK. Our thoughts go out to the innocent victims and to the brave first responders who lost their lives or were injured.
We need to try to better understand how we, as a society, can dilute the radical hate and come together as one. This is an important time, with the prize of any democracy, a general election, happening this week. Nothing or nobody must ever be allowed to deter, prevent or frustrate the inherent right of every UK citizen to vote in our free elections.
This is a complicated landscape and once the election is complete, we must address the factors that are feeding recurring terrorist attacks.
Firstly, we face greater online radicalisation, and I support the drive to hold social media companies to account for policing this.
Secondly, there appears to be a clear increase in home grown radicalisation. Police and security services cannot be everywhere all the time. The more people that become radicalised, the increased likelihood that terrorist incidents will occur.
The third challenge is that attackers can quickly change their modus operandi at will. Security services, policing and society must not only keep up but stay ahead of the curve. That is why the Chief Constable and I are examining the option and cost of offering Taser to every police officer who requests one and who successfully passes the training.
Finally, a thorough review must be undertaken to establish whether the current counter-terrorism strategy is working.
Meanwhile, it is an undeniable fact that resourcing across the totality of policing has changed and reduced. During the last decade, the citizen to police officer ratio has increased by 23%, rising from 381 citizens per officer in 2006 to 461 in 2016. This is due to both an increase in the overall population of 7% and a decrease in police officer numbers by 12%. Coupled with this has been a loss of a third of the PCSO establishment.
These numbers are eye watering – 70,000 policing posts lost in a decade, at a time of increased demand and the now omnipresent terror threat.
Irrespective of who takes power, the need to re-invest in the totality of policing, not just in counter terrorism or urban conurbations, has never been a higher priority.
With current resourcing levels, most rural forces across the UK would struggle to respond as quickly and as fully as the Metropolitan Police did on Saturday night. Policing needs more money and more resources in order to build a safer and more secure future.
I would urge people to remain vigilant. If you have concerns about radicalisation, report this to the Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321 or 999 in an emergency.
A combination of factors has led Police & Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill to take a step back from his national commitments
This includes Deputy PCC Colin Pipe's decision, after much consideration, to retire from the Office of the Police & Crime Commissioner due to ill health.
The OPCC is not seeking a replacement deputy commissioner at this time. Rather, the PCC has opted to reduce the number of national portfolio areas that he is engaged with in order to spend more time focusing on local issues.
On 19 December 2017, the Policing Minister announced the proposed level of core funding that will be made available to policing in 2018/19, leaving forces nationally in a difficult position.
With police budgets having to absorb unprecedented demand, growing inflation levels and the cost of Government awarding a police pay rise without providing any additional funding, the proposed flat cash settlement means that PCCs face a central Government funding reduction in real terms.
PCC Martyn Underhill said: “As we look ahead, Dorset Police expects to have to make further substantial savings, while the genuine rise in crime being seen nationally shows no signs of abating. We have already had to make a number of incredibly tough decisions and this settlement does us all a disservice.”
To compensate for this, the Government has given PCCs additional flexibility to be able to raise their local policing precept by £12 a year. This would generate around £3.4m of additional funding in Dorset.
The Commissioner continued: “It cannot be right that the Government keeps asking my constituents, the taxpayers of Dorset, to pay more for policing every year. My dilemma is that if I do not consider a precept rise, Dorset Police will struggle to keep up with demand and to deliver an acceptable service.
“The Government has forced the hand of all PCCs, but the police funding formula places rural forces like Dorset at a distinct disadvantage. Many forces receive around three quarters of their overall funding from central Government while Dorset receives roughly half.
“Like other PCCs, I therefore have no choice but to ask whether residents are prepared to plug the hole left by the core funding settlement in order to protect frontline policing. While I welcome the ability to provide more funding for an overstretched police service, I am taking this matter to public consultation with a heavy heart.”
Throughout this year’s consultation, the Commissioner will be asking whether residents are prepared to pay an additional £1 per month to support policing in Dorset. Visit www.dorsetpoliceprecept.com to have your say.
Dorset’s Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill has visited Tolvaddon in Cornwall to see how a new integrated approach to CCTV is being taken.
Across the County, an alliance between local towns, the fire service, Cornwall Council and the Office of the Devon & Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner is finding solutions.
The Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner said: “One of the main reasons I have come here is because of the fire involvement in this project.
“Dorset is quite similar to Cornwall in its make-up and I see a synergy between both. We do have a CCTV project in Dorset but fire are not involved and as PCC I want to try and bring the whole of Dorset into one CCTV system.
“It’s all about public safety and getting the best use out of our resources.”
The Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon & Cornwall, Alison Hernandez said: “Safe, resilient and connected communities are the focus of the Police and Crime Plan and CCTV in our communities plays a fundamental part of that journey,”
“We are in an alliance with Dorset and we are trying to show off the excellent work being carried out in Cornwall to see how we can help them achieve similar aims as we have here.”