“Fix police funding formula before raising council taxes” says Bedford & Kempston MP

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Mohammad Yasin, MP for Bedford and Kempston, speaking in the House of Commons

The MP for Bedford and Kempston raised a question in the House of Commons today, urging the Policing Minister, Kit Malthouse, to commit to fixing the police funding formula.

Mohammad Yasin MP said that the funding formula should be addressed before resorting to raising council taxes.

“Our Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) was elected on a platform to fix the unfair funding formula for Bedfordshire Police,” he said in Home Office Questions yesterday (Monday).

“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 answered, admitting their funding formula was “a bit elderly, a bit creaky” and that they will look at the funding formula before the next election.

In response to the Minister’s comments, Mr Yasin said: “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.

“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 someday.”

Council tax rise

Mr Yasin said he has urged PCC Akinbusoye to engage with his Conservative colleagues to fix the funding formula now.

“[PCC Akinbusoye] pledged to do and exhaust this avenue, before taking the easier route of increasing council taxes at a time when household budgets are under immense strain,” said the MP.

Ahead of his election in May 2021, the Police and Crime Commissioner, Festus Akinbusoye told the Bedford Independent that he had raised the funding issue with the Home Secretary, “…and will keep doing so vociferously until the funding formula is fixed.”

In August 2021, PCC Akinbusoye told a Bedfordshire council meeting: “I’ve been informed by the Home Office this is an issue which is going to be resolved hopefully during this Parliament.”

In a letter to the PCC regarding his recent policing precept survey, Mr Yasin wrote: “I realise that because the Government refuse to fund the force properly, the precept may be the only way to get the extra officers necessary to tackle the rising crime across Bedfordshire, including violent crime and ant-social behaviour.

“However, to ask the public to find the extra money amid a Tory-created cost-of-living crisis with spiralling energy prices, inflation heading towards 7% and income tax rises on the horizon is regrettable and presents my constituents with an impossible choice.”

The Bedford Independent gave the PCC’s office the opportunity to comment on Mr Yasin’s House of Commons question, and have been told he is writing a letter to the MP with his response.

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