Wiltshire PCC to continue to lobby for police funding review
Wiltshire and Swindon's PCC Philip Wilkinson has said he will continue to lobby Prime Minister Liz Truss to deliver on her campaign promise to ensure a review of the police funding formula.
Mr Wilkinson took part in briefings with Liz Truss during her campaign to become the next leader of the Conservative Party and the UK’s Prime Minister – after Boris Johnson’s resignation - earlier in the summer.
He took the opportunity to raise the funding disparity faced by rural forces, like Wiltshire Police, which leaves those forces disadvantaged by the current funding formula used by central government to allocate policing budget.
Wiltshire is currently the fourth-lowest funded force in the country.
Mr Wilkinson said he also intends to write to the new Home Secretary Suella Braverman to ensure her support to commit to the biggest shake up of funding the policing service has seen in decades.
He said: “I would like to extend my congratulations to Liz Truss on her appointment as Prime Minister. Much of those policies she campaigned upon - beating crime, making communities feel safer and ensuring police forces go back-to-basics and focus on fighting actual crimes - are the very same principles which have under-pinned my police and crime plan for the county.
“Of course, the Prime Minister has the cost-of-living crisis and energy crisis, all of which will have an effect on crime across the UK, to deal with first and foremost.
“Then I would like to see as much urgency placed upon starting the review of the outdated police funding formula, as was promised in the campaign, and I will be writing to the new Home Secretary to explain this.”
The current funding formula is based upon money per head of population, as well as crime rates – among other factors.
Mr Wilkinson added just because the county is rural does not mean that the same crimes faced by urban areas aren’t felt here.
He said modern-day policing in Wiltshire has seen increased demand without the funding increasing meaning there is less money, per head-of-population, to fight crime and provide the quality policing service that officers want to deliver and that residents want to be on the receiving end of.
He added: “Crime doesn’t stop at county boundaries - Wiltshire has problems with county lines drugs, with modern slavery, with cyber crime and fraud alongside increasing domestic abuse, serious sexual offences and child sexual exploitation, just as urban areas do.
“The dominance of the internet, and easier communications, means our worlds have become smaller and criminals can, and do, use this for their own gain. We also have the vast swathe of Salisbury Plain in the middle of our county which is a magnet for hare coursers and organised criminal gangs using Wiltshire’s green assets for their own gain.
“And I see it as my role to ensure our Prime Minister delivers that rebalance to the police funding formula and to fund Wiltshire Police to the same level as its urban counterparts.”