The Home Office is responsible for allocating grants to Police and Crime Commissioners across the country, who then decide how much goes to Police forces and other crime reduction initiatives.
By doing so, an accountability framework is supposed to have been established to assure Parliament that regularity, propriety and value for money is being achieved in Police spending.
However, the Committee’s first report of the 2015/16 session indicates its lack of confidence in the Home Office to report back effectively.
“Most Police forces lack sufficient information on the current and future demand they face, which is essential for the Department, Commissioners and the Police to ensure forces have the right skills and resources and under the impact of savings measures,” the document claims.
“There is limited information on the impact of cost reductions made by other government departments on the Police’s workload (cost shunting). It is not clear how the structural reforms necessary to make expected further significant savings will be made within the devolved delivery model,” it adds.
Going forward, PAC claims the Home Office must ensure that Police forces collect data that allows it to identify the impact on forces of funding reductions elsewhere in government and work closely with the other departments to ensure that the impact of their spending decisions are not borne by the Police service.
It also recommends that the Department works closely with the College of Policing to ensure there is a common standard for measuring demand and that this is used to provide comparable, accessible data on all forces as a matter of urgency.