Bedford MP calls on Government to fix police funding formula before raising council taxes

Mohammad Yasin MP says Beds Police should not be funded as a rural force

By Laura Hutchinson
Tuesday, 18th January 2022, 11:59 am
Updated Tuesday, 18th January 2022, 12:02 pm

Bedfordshire Police should not be funded as a rural force - and constituents should not be facing higher council tax bills to pay for it, Bedford and Kempston's MP told the House of Commons.

Speaking at Home Office Questions yesterday (January 17) Mohammad Yasin MP asked Policing Minister, Kit Malthouse to commit to fixing the funding formula to fund Bedfordshire Police properly before resorting to raising council taxes.

And the Minister admitted that the funding formula was 'a bit creaky'.

Mohammad Yasin MP

He said: "Our Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner was elected on a platform to fix the unfair funding formula for Bedfordshire Police.

"But his solution to raise much-needed funding to put more police on our streets, is to raise the local Council Tax.

"With two large towns and an international airport, Bedfordshire Police should not be funded as a rural force, so will the Minister give our force the resources it needs before expecting my constituents to pay more?”

The Policing Minister said that the Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner is doing "a fantastic job" and has "significant support" in the county - but he admitted that the funding formula was “a bit elderly, a bit creaky”.

He said: "We are committed to coming up with a new funding formula for policing.

"The formula we use at the moment is a little bit elderly, a bit creaky and he'll [Mr Yasin] be pleased to hear I had a meeting just this morning with the chair of the new technical body which is putting that work together and we hope to be able to run formula before the next election."

In response to the Minister’s comments, Mr Yasin said: “The Tories slashed billions from the police, taking officer numbers to their lowest level in a generation. This has led to the erosion of neighbourhood policing and made proactive, preventative action impossible for overstretched officers.

"Bedfordshire Police is one of the most underfunded forces in the country and that’s because it's funded wrongly as a rural force despite having two significant urban centres in Bedford and Luton and an international airport that requires complex counter-terrorism resources.

"I have long supported the force’s demands to be funded according to its actual needs and not as the rural force the Government imagines it is.

He added: "It’s not good enough to admit there is a problem and just expect my constituents to suffer while they get around to sorting it out some day."

Mr Yasin has also today written to the Police and Crime Commissioner Festus Akinbusoye, regarding the recent policing precept survey, urging him to ask for the funding formula to be fixed now, instead of increasing council tax.