Police and crime commissioner Darryl Preston talks about "the challenge to secure Cambridgeshire the police funding it deserves".

Every community deserves a properly funded and well-equipped police force. In Cambridgeshire, we’ve made huge strides to adapt and expand our capabilities to improve the way we solve and investigate crime.

A substantial proportion has come from local taxpayers themselves who have funded improved technology and are helping to sustain and develop the record number of officers who joined the ranks through the Uplift programme.

Regrettably, there simply would not be enough funding to support the force’s work to keep people safe without a significant precept contribution and this is the case for many forces.

This is why, since I was first elected in 2021, I have been seeking a fairer funding deal through changes to the government’s police grant. 

It is therefore with some frustration that the outgoing government was unable to achieve this.

Cambridgeshire remains the fourth lowest funded force in the country. The discrepancies are clear when you compare the cost per head of policing in the county compared to similar sized forces.

For example, in Cambridgeshire, this is around £219.94 per person whereas in Durham it is £265.17.

The force does an excellent job with the provision it is afforded but there is no doubt more is needed to bring us in line with our colleagues elsewhere.

This is why challenging for a fairer funding formula has become a top priority for me as Commissioner and why I continue to highlight our plight nationally and with the region’s MPs.  

The current funding formula is based upon very old population data. Since the formula was set, the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough population has grown, and is forecast to grow, much faster than the national average.

Additionally, some areas have de-populated, or maintained the same population, whilst Cambridgeshire and Peterborough have grown by 11%, yet funding allocations year on year do not reflect this in any way. 

Everything that can be done has been done to protect the frontline in Cambridgeshire. We’ve worked hard to keep our costs low through collaborating with other forces.

We’ve also prioritised retaining police officer numbers with ongoing reviews of our cost base to ensure the efficient delivery of our service.

To draw on HMICFRS’s own State of Policing 2021 report, smaller forces with a low funding base can only do so much with the resources at their disposal.

Both the Chief Constable and I are committed to delivering the improvements the public rightly expects of policing, but how far we can go is dependent on a fairer funding formula that recognises the complexities and changing nature of crime, the relationship between demand and deprivation alongside rising crime volumes and population growth.

As it currently stands, we are relying on local taxpayers to fund almost half of the policing bill.

This is simply not viable, and I will be fighting hard with the new Policing Minister and Home Secretary to secure our county a better deal in the future.