Bedfordshire’s MPs are being urged by Police and Crime Commissioner Olly Martins to pursue a fairer allocation of funding support for victims of crime.
The Commissioner has written to the county’s MPs to highlight the unfairness of the allocation formula in relation to victims of crime in Bedfordshire, asking them to do their best to remedy the situation. He is objecting to the way in which funding has been allocated by the Ministry of Justice following the handover of responsibility for the commissioning of victim services to Police and Crime Commissioners.
Mr Martins points out that the method used to divide funding between PCCs is based on population alone rather than any assessment of the level of need, such as taking account of crime levels.
Speaking of his concerns, Mr Martins said: “We work very hard to support victims of crime, helping them to get through what can be extremely difficult times and feel safe again. But support like this does cost money, and our MPs need to push for a fairer deal to ensure that Bedfordshire victims have the same level of funding for victim services as is provided for our neighbours.
“It’s all about helping victims cope and recover in a timely and effective manner. If the funding system remains unchanged, there’s a risk that the Government will face even bigger problems in the future.”
In his letter he points out that the current method of funding allocation means that victims in some areas were effectively receiving better funding, and therefore enhanced support services, than those in Bedfordshire.
This means that if annual rates of crime stay relatively constant in 2015/16, the amount allocated to a victim of crime in Bedfordshire would be £21.30. The comparative amount for a victim in neighbouring Hertfordshire would be £26.60, he added.
Commissioner Martins believes this to be unacceptable. “This is particularly so since Bedfordshire is already disadvantaged by the Police funding formula,” he said.
He also points to the imbalance created by London’s funding allocation which is based on how many people live in the capital - which is 15 per cent of the population of England and Wales - rather than the fact that it has over 25 per cent of referrals to Victim Support and around 21 per cent of recorded crime.
“Bedfordshire faces the same issues,” he concluded, “as in policing terms we are a rurally-funded county that faces urban challenges.”