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Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner threatens Home Office with legal action over ‘outdated’ funding

The Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner is threatening the Home Office with legal action in a bid to change ‘unfair and ineffective’ funding for forces in England and Wales.

In what would be a landmark case in the UK, PCC Marc Jones has called the current system ‘outdated’ and declared ‘enough is enough’.

The case, which could reach the High Court, is expected to cost up to £50,000 of taxpayer money.

PCC Marc Jones.
PCC Marc Jones.

Mr Jones has launched the legal action to force the Home Office to introduce a new funding formula to assess how much each police force in England and Wales receives through a Government grant.

The current funding formula, said Mr Jones, uses old population statistics from 2013 and outdated metrics like pubs per square mile.

Mr Jones has been at the forefront of the present Government’s review of the funding formula – which has now been completed and won widespread support from forces across the country.

Mr Jones says the funding affects Lincolnshire Police
Mr Jones says the funding affects Lincolnshire Police

But despite months of discussion and work the new formula has still not been out for public consultation, while many forces struggle with systematic underfunding.

Mr Jones has taken advice from a legal team which includes counsel and sent a letter to the Home Secretary and the Minister of State for Crime, Policing and Fire on April 26, before the election was called.

The correspondence makes clear that if the Home Office does not apply a new formula for the next spending review at the end of 2024 then Mr Jones will seek a judicial review.

Police Crime Commissioner Marc Jones
Police Crime Commissioner Marc Jones

The letter said: “The Formula relies entirely on historical allocations and data sets, failing (either adequately or at all) to account for contemporary police needs, demographic shifts and evolving crime patterns.

“Not only has the data used for the current iterations not been updated in over 10 years, the factors for allocation themselves have not been refreshed.

“Consequently, Lincolnshire Police Force is operating under a funding model that is unfair, ineffective and ill-suited to address the challenges they face in maintaining public safety and security.

Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones. Photo: Daniel Jaines
Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones. Photo: Daniel Jaines

“The outdated formula, and the continued reliance on decade-old factual inputs which do not reflect current circumstances, hampers the ability of Lincolnshire Police to effectively deploy resources where they are most needed, hindering efforts to address emerging threats and prevent crime.”

The Home Office are expected to issue a response in early June.

Mr Jones said the action was necessary to protect the people of Lincolnshire.

“Lincolnshire Police has been struggling under the pressure of historic underfunding for years and though prudent financial management has softened the blow I simply cannot continue to sit back and watch Lincolnshire unfairly disadvantaged,” said Mr Jones.

“A new funding formula is desperately needed. The current one is old, uses outdated methods and statistics and penalises the communities of Lincolnshire.

“It is urgent for the new Government to address this as a matter of urgency when they take office.

“I have done everything I can to pursue this through the normal channels and been frustrated at every turn. Enough is enough. If I have to address this through the courts then I will.”

A change to the funding formula is expected to bring in millions of extra money for Lincolnshire.

The cost of a judicial review is estimated to be between £20-50k.

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