Monday, 14 April 2008

Police Finance: How does it work?

As Jaqui Smith told the House of Commons in February 2008:

“The Government do not distribute grant to police authorities purely on the basis of population. The police funding formula uses a range of data relating to demographic and social characteristics to reflect the relative needs of each authority. Grant allocations also take into account the relative tax base of each authority. Grant allocations are stabilised by damping to limit year-on-year variations."

Smith, Secretary of State for the Home Department, was responding to a question by David Davies MP about how much was spent on policing per head of the population in each police force in England and Wales in each year since 1997.

This means that Devon and Cornwall Police Authority, in terms of population and budget receive more money than Essex Police and Avon and Somerset Police and a bit less than Kent Police.

It is the Police Authorities who have the legal responsibility to set the police budget. Central Government indicate the level of funding they will provide through grants. Any additional money required for the police service can only be raised through the local council tax. The Police Authority sets the level of the police element of the council tax each year. In the case of Devon and Cornwall Police Authority, the tax for 2008/2009, for a Band D property is £142.19 per household.

The budget incorporates two different types of expenditure; the revenue budget meets all day to day running costs including salaries whilst the capital budget meets the cost of land, building and major equipment.

The revenue budget for 2008/2009, is £268,084,994m and the capital budget is £18.3m.
Information on police authority budgets and resident population since 1997 are set out in the tables here.

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