Surrey Police at cuts limit, MP warns
Surrey Police have reached their limit in terms of funding cuts, according to Dominic Raab MP.
The MP for Esher and Walton voiced serious concerns at an adjournment debate in Westminster Hall on Tuesday, July 3.
His speech was made in response to a consultation currently under way to change or remove the damping mechanism for police force funding, which calculates how much each force receives.
Mr Raab said: “If the damping mechanism is removed, the force stands to lose £4m of funding.
“That is the equivalent of losing 83 police constables. That would be a serious blow to the force and a kick in the teeth to the people of Surrey who pay such high levels of tax, and frankly see too little of it returned as investment in local services.”
He praised Surrey’s front line officers for their dedication and commitment, and said he supported the Government’s drive to promote efficiency in the police service.
But he said changing to the damping mechanism should be looked at with a wider review of police funding because it risked leaving Surrey high and dry through no fault of its own.
Surrey loses out for various reasons.
Firstly the funding formula takes in to account daytime net flows of traffic, but not total traffic accidents which are high in Surrey.
It also looks at average deprivation, which is relatively low in Surrey, but ignores the county’s proximity to areas of high deprivation and the subsequent cross-border crime.
While real-term spending on the police increased nationally by 19 per cent between 1997 and 2010, funding for Surrey Police was cut by 39 per cent in real terms and, measured by central funding per person, Surrey got the worst deal of all 43 police forces in England and Wales.
Mr Raab said: “A perception exists of Surrey as a leafy backwater, whose sleepy towns and villages are the last place where crime is an issue.
“The reality is that Surrey is a county force grappling with metropolitan issues.
“Precisely because Surrey is an affluent area, it is a natural target for professional criminals from other areas.”
He continued: “The people of Surrey should not be short-changed when it comes to the police. Neither Surrey Police, nor the people of Surrey, ask for special treatment.
“They simply ask for a fair deal.”