12 February 2018
The National Assembly for Wales is due to debate the Final Police Settlement 2018-19 on 13 February 2018 and although policing policy is not devolved in Wales, the Welsh Government delivers an element of the annual funding, along with the Home Office. Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) also raise funding through council tax precepts and have access to special and specific grants.
In 2018-19, police are due to receive a cash flat settlement, with £349.9 million made available to PCCs across Wales. The 2017-18 settlement saw all PCCs receiving a 1.4% reduction. Table 1 below shows total funding allocations across Wales:
Table 1: Total Central Support (£m)
The Police Settlement is derived in a two-stage process, with the Welsh Government inviting comments on the provisional settlement when it was published on 19 December 2017. There are no changes between figures published in the provisional and final settlements.
The funding in Table 1 is made up of two components; Aggregate External Finance, which comprises Revenue Support Grant (RSG) and Business Rates (NNDR) and is provided by the Welsh Government, £140.9 million, and Home Office Police Grant and Floor Funding, £209 million. The Welsh Government component of the funding is outlined in table 2 below:
Table 2: Aggregate External Finance (RSG+NNDR, £m)
The main elements of the formula for calculating the allocations to each PCC are decided by the Home Secretary as part of a common formula covering Wales and England. In Wales, the equivalent funding previously provided by the UK’s Department for Communities and Local Government in England is devolved to the Welsh Government. The statement on the Final Police Settlement by the Cabinet Secretary for Local Government and Public Services notes that the Welsh Government component of police funding provision is based on a “principle of ensuring consistency and fairness across England and Wales”.
The formula for 2018-19 includes mechanisms that mean PCCs in Wales receive the same change as that applicable to local policing bodies in England. The Home Office Police Grant report outlines that “damping” applied in 2018-19 means that every local policing body receives the same share of the totality of formula funding as in 2013-14. The allocations of Police Main Grant and DCLG Formula Funding provided to local policing bodies are the same as those that were provided to local policing bodies in 2017-18. Funding allocations for both financial years are based on the Police Allocation Formula distribution from 2013-14.
Discussions have been ongoing for a number of years in relation to reform of the Home Office formula. In July 2015, the UK Government issued a consultation on reforming the way police forces in England and Wales are funded by central government. In December that year, the Home Affairs Committee published a report that concluded the funding formula was “out-of-date” and also criticised aspects of the process behind the UK Government’s review. The UK Government’s response (March 2017) notes that, “reforming the formula remains a key priority for this Government” and in his statement on the Police Grant in December, the UK Minister of State for Policing and the Fire Service (Nick Hurd) said that he “intended that the funding formula will be revisited at the next Spending Review”.
In addition to the Police Grant, the UK Government also announced other changes to police funding, with an additional £130 million provided as special grants at a UK level and around £50 million extra for counter-terrorism. The Minister reiterated and expanded on this in his statement on the Final Settlement at the end of January.