Following a meeting with members of the Hampshire Police Authority in the House of Commons, Sir George has written to the Minister for the Police at the Home Office, asking for assurances that services in Hampshire will not be cut.
The text of the letter is below:
Hazel Blears MP
Minister of State
50 Queen Anne’s Gate
London SW1H 9AT 21 October 2004
Along with other MPs, I recently had a meeting with members of the Hampshire Police Authority, who are deeply concerned at the proposed settlement for next year.
We will not of course know for a few weeks the precise amount of sum that has been allocated, but the 4% real terms increase in the Home Office budgets over the next three years looks as if it will be inadequate for Hampshire Police to fund a ‘standstill’ budget in 2005/6, without substantial increases in the amount that is raised through the local council tax payer. However, this avenue may not be available as the Deputy Prime Minister has made it clear that he will cap police authorities that make major increases in the levy. (indeed, two such police authorities were capped this year).
I can’t believe that it is the Government’s policy that there should be reductions in the quality of policing in Hampshire in the year 2005/6. I wonder therefore if you would be good enough to consider the representations made by Hampshire Police; they estimate that, in Hampshire, they need an increase of about 4.5% in their base budgets just to maintain existing levels of service. I hope you and the Home Secretary will seriously consider making such resources available.