UK

Police Commissioners Threaten To Sue The Government Over Cuts To Services

03/11/2015 08:07 GMT | Updated 03/11/2015 08:59 GMT

Police chiefs are reportedly threatening to sue the Government over further funding cuts.

Seven police and crime commissioners, who were elected for the first time in 2012, have signed they may take legal action against the Government over "unjustified" and "deeply flawed" funding reforms.

The reforms could see millions deducted from the budgets of police forces across the country who have already been hit by spending cuts.

british police

Police chiefs are threatening to sue the government

The commissioners have written to policing minister Mike Penning urging him to delay a decision on budgets, expected in the Government's spending review this month.

The commissioners warned that they could seek a judicial review if Penning fails to listen to their "grave concerns", in a letter seen by the Independent.

Their intervention comes after senior police officers warned of safety fears as front-line services could be affected by further cuts.

On Sunday, shadow home secretary Andy Burnham called on Theresa May to hand over the case forces need to cover Remembrance Sunday parades after a number were cancelled or scaled back because budget cuts have led to a lack of police cover.

But the Home Secretary has insisted that forces can be more efficient.

According to the Independent, the letter said: "We believe this process should be halted immediately and the process redesigned to five forces and commissioners the information and time they need to make a proper and fair assessment of its consequences.

"It is with much regret that we are therefore taking legal advice with a view to initiating a judicial review, should our concerns not be addressed."

The letter is said to have been signed by Stephen Greenhalgh, London’s Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, along with the commissioners representing Cumbria, Lancashire, Devon and Cornwall, Merseyside, North Yorkshire and Thames Valley.

Five of the PCCs are Conservatives Party members, while the representatives for Merseyside and Lancashire are from Labour.

mike penning

Mike Penning

Penning announced plans to change the police funding in July, saying the current model was "complex, opaque and out of date".

He said: "Police reform is working. Over the last five years, front-line services have been protected, public confidence in the police has gone up and crime has fallen by more than a quarter, according to the independent Crime Survey for England and Wales.

"However, if we want policing in this country to be the best it can be, then we must reform further, and that includes putting police funding on a long-term, sustainable footing."

Police cuts are putting thousands of frontline jobs at risk.

Chancellor George Osborne has asked ministers in non-protected departments - such as the Home Office - to come up with reductions in their budgets of between 25% and 40% by 2019/20 ahead of the Comprehensive Spending Review on November 25, when the Government's plans for the next four years will be set out.

Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has previously said he is worried for the safety of London if the Chancellor announces cuts of £800 million or more over the next four years, while Lancashire's chief constable Steve Finnigan warned that expected budget reductions of £60 million will mean his force will "not be viable as we see it today" by 2020.

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