Less funding for rural police

Rural areas have continued to receive less police funding than urban areas, the Rural Services Network has said.

Using figures from 2016, the network has compared total resource funding per head of population for both rural and urban areas.

In 2017-18, rural areas received £162.24 in funding per head of population compared to £201.72 for urban areas. This is a 24.3 per cent difference.

The difference will narrow slightly in 2018-19 following an increase in government funding for police across England and Wales.

Rural areas are expected to receive £167.01 per head of population in 2018-19 compared to £206.20 in urban areas. This is a 23.5 per cent difference.

The Rural Services Network argues that central government has always underfunded rural areas, giving them less grant per head than urban ones.

This is despite the fact it costs more per head of population to provide public services in sparsely populated areas where there are fewer residents.

Amber Rudd, Home Secretary, announced a £450 million increase in police funding across England and Wales in December. The funding was part of a comprehensive settlement for forces and counter terrorism policing.

Rudd said the government was protecting its grant to forces in cash terms and allowing police and crime commissioners to raise precept contributions by up to £1 a month per household. Together, this meant force budgets would increase by up to £270 million nationally.

Counter terrorism police funding would also increase by around £50 million to £757 million - a rise of seven per cent.

At a national level, £130 million extra would be provided for priorities such as special grants to help forces meet unexpected costs.

Police forces would also be allowed access to a £175 million police transformation fund to invest in reform and digitisation projects to benefit the whole policing system.

The Home Office has singled its intention to repeat the same settlement for 2019-2020 provided there is substantial progress in police productivity and efficiency improvements.

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