It is said that pride comes before a fall, and Conservative policing minister Mike Penning has just taken a nasty tumble.
Only last week, he told us that the current model for police funding was “complex, opaque, and out of date”. What a shame that the model with which he proposed to replace it turned out to be rubbish.
“If we want policing in this country to be the best it can be, then we must reform further, and that includes putting police on a long-term, sustainable footing,” he told us all last week. How those words must haunt him now!
A Tory policing minister has been forced to make a grovelling apology after botching plans to reform police funding.
Mike Penning admitted the Home Office had made serious errors in calculating how much funding would be doled out to regional police forces.
The apology comes amid bitter controversy over the planned changes, with six Police and Crime Commissioners threatening the Home Office with legal action over fears they are set to lose millions of pounds in Government support.
Penning told MPs: “I am sad to say there was a statistical error made in the data that has been used. While this data does not change the principle that was consulted on, the allocation provided to the forces was never indicative. We recognise this has caused a great deal of concern to police forces around the country.
“I and the government regret this mistake and I apologise to the house. I also apologise to the 43 authorities that I wrote to during the extended consultation period, as part of the funding formula review.”
He added that the planned reforms, intended to take effect during 2016/17 would now be delayed.
Home Affairs Select Committee chairman Keith Vaz , who asked an urgent question in the House of Commons, described the situation as a “shambles”.
He said 31 out of 43 police forces would lose money as a result of the error, compared with a third under the current formula.
Mr Vaz said an independent panel should be established to look again at the issue, adding: “More importantly (including people) able to count and understand mathematics – unlike some officials in the Home Office.
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