Sir George wrote to the Home Secretary, expressing concern that Hampshire Police Authority would not get the resources it needs to provide effective policing in the county.
This is the reply that he got:
Hazel Blears MP
Minister of State
50 Queen Anne's Gate
London SW1H 9AT
12 December 2003
Thank you for your letter of 17 November to the Home Secretary enclosing the letter from Hampshire Police Authority, about funding for Hampshire Constabulary. I am replying as Minister with responsibility for policing matters.
Funding the police properly remains a top priority for this Government. The provisional police funding settlement for 2004/05 builds on significant extra resources for policing in England & Wales over the last three years. Since 2000/01 total provision for policing to be supported by grant or spent centrally on services for the police has risen by over £2.3 billion (30%).
Total provision for policing to be supported by grant in 2004/05 will be £10,086m. This is a cash rise of £403m
(4.2% ) over the provision for 2003/04. This includes principal formula police grant, specific grants, capital related grants, direct Home Office spending and the formula spending on which revenue support grant is based.
The provisional funding settlement announced on 19 November ensures all forces in England & Wales receive a standard grant increase of 3.25%, sufficient to cover inflation (around 2.6%). Hampshire will receive £190.5m, an increase of £6m
On top of this, funding is provided to forces for a number of specific initiatives that enable funds to be targeted towards areas where they are most needed. In 2004/05, Hampshire Constabulary will receive £7.31m for the Crime Fighting Fund and £0.22m for the Rural Policing Fund. Details of capital funding and the Basic Command Unit Fund will be announced in a few weeks.
The Government expects police authorities to set budgets for 2004/05 that are responsible, prudent and reasonable and that ensure further improvements without placing excessive burdens on the local taxpayer. Police Authorities will need to consider the police precept level on council tax. The trend in council tax rises over recent years is not sustainable and that is why the Government has said that we are prepared to consider use of capping powers in 2004/05. We hope this will not be necessary for any police authority.
Representations in response to the provisional funding settlement should be made by 2nd January 2004 and will be carefully considered and fully taken into account.