Northumbria’s Police Commissioner Kim McGuinness has hit out after a newly announced Government anti-social behaviour fund handed to the region was revealed to be nearly £250,000 less than previous funding.


Last week, Government announced it was investing money to ‘ramp up ASB hot spot patrols’ but the Home Office has actually handed the region a budget cut after merging two pre-existing funds – one which tackles ASB, the other serious violence.


Northumbria has seen a 20% cut in ASB in just three months but now frontline projects will have to be reviewed and potentially cut back.


It’s the second cut to frontline crime-fighting projects in just three months. Last December Kim criticised the Government for the hypocrisy of announcing its own plans to tackle spiking – just after taking away £180,000 of North East Safer Streets funds that would help towards tackling that very problem.


Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said: “This new Home Office money is not a new fund at all and should not be badged as such. Government is being creative with its language and even more creative with its numbers.  Put simply, yet again the North East is walking away with less money in the pot to fight and prevent crime locally, and we’re tired of always drawing the short straw.


“Work is already planned, partner patrols are mapped out, resourcing is in place, officer overtime is scheduled, now it will be back to the drawing board for our police and partners in order to meet the new criteria that has been set out and the less money allocated to deliver it.


“When Government launched the ASB action plan they said it was about restoring people’s confidence that this behaviour is being tackled – the reality of these funding cuts surely will be zapping people’s confidence.”


Kim continued: “Every time we are onto a good thing, and we demonstrate really good work funding changes, or they pull the plug on it entirely. In just a couple of months we have had £380K stripped from successful frontline work that’s having an impact.  Our investment in the ASB hotspot work has been paying off; we need to build on this and strengthen this work preventing ASB disorder, not have funding pulled and plans restructured. We were led to believe we would get funding dependent on the success of the ASB hot spot pilot, and we have delivered. It’s a shame Government isn’t delivering its promised funding in return.


“Government needs to stop badging cuts up as new funds and actually put their money with their mouth is and get behind the good work that’s happening to prevent and fight crime in our region. Tackling ASB matters to me, it matters to local residents, but it doesn’t seem to matter to our Government.”


The new funding announced last week is in fact a merging of the ASB Action Plan Hotspot resource fund, something promised to all 43 forces, and the Grip fund given to 20 forces for tackling serious violence. These changes mean now all forces must tackle both serious violence and ASB and the ASB focussed work can only be delivered in Grip identified areas. The combined total of these two pots was nearly £250,000 more than the new fund.