Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Cash-Strapped Police Forces 'Unsustainable'

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Cash-Strapped Police Forces 'Unsustainable'

Article excerpt

Byline: NIK MARCO Local Democracy Reporter news@gazettemedia.co.uk @TeessideLive

THE Government is unsure whether cash-strapped police forces are "financially sustainable" - with Cleveland among the worst hit by budget cuts.

Teesside's crime chief has backed a report casting doubt on the state of the country's policing after a major drop in funding.

A report from the National Audit Office (NAO) states the Home Office is unsure whether the police system in England and Wales is "financially sustainable", while officer numbers and arrest rates have fallen.

The report showed funding for Cleveland Police dropped 20% in real terms from 2010 to 2018/19, placing it in the top 10 forces in the country impacted by cuts.

It is alarming the NAO found Office has little of what is the sustainability police Cleveland Police, which covers Hartlepool, Redcar and Cleveland, Stockton and Middlesbrough, employed 1,257 officers in March this year, 69 fewer than three years previously and around 500 fewer than in 2010.

Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland Barry Coppinger said he welcomes the report, which reinforces a number of points he continues to raise about police funding.

He said: "It is alarming to read that the NAO found the Home Office has little understanding of what is needed to ensure the financial sustainability of our police forces, as well as having no long-term strategy to ensure our forces can continue to keep people safe.

"In Cleveland, we have lost over 500 police officers since 2010 and I have regularly written to high-ranking senior politicians, including the Prime Minister, to make it very clear that Cleveland Police is not fairly funded to deal with the levels of demand we receive. I have also spoken directly on separate occasions to the last two policing ministers in this respect. …

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