Surrey’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Lisa Townsend, has slammed what she deems an “unfair” underfunding of Surrey’s police force, criticising an “outdated” funding formula.

The Government announced its funding for police forces in England and Wales in December saying they would receive £18.4 billion – up  £922 million on the previous year.

But the way money is divided has meant some areas received significantly larger shares than others, prompting Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner Lisa Townsend to write to the Government.

Surrey’s funding will be £308.7m in 2024/25, an increase of up to £17.3m when compared to 2023/24.

Her letter, to the minister of state for crime,  policing, and fire, Chris Philp, reads: “I am concerned about the way these have been allocated. Once again rather than being allocated in proportion to costs incurred i.e., for pay linked to headcount or payroll costs, these grants have been allocated using the outdated formula grant model. 

“This is a particular issue for Surrey where only 45 per cent of our total budget is covered by grant compared with over 80 per cent  in Northumbria. 

“This means that Northumbria gets 77 per cent  more of the additional pay grant for the same level of cost compared to Surrey.

“I did write to you about this when the pay grant was originally announced, and you assured me that the allocation method would be changed but so far this has not happened.”

The government had announced a review of funding distribution in autumn 2021, engaging with the police sector to understand demand and local factors. However, two and a half years later, the existing model persists, deemed the fairest way to allocate core funding.

A Home Office spokesperson defended the government’s approach, stating: “Our priority is to deliver a robust formula that allocates funding in a fair and transparent manner, ensuring that police have the resources they need.” 

But despite positive developments such as a recent pay award for officers, Ms Townsend remains unconvinced about the fairness of the funding formula. 

She emphasised: “We receive proportionately the lowest level of formula grant in the country, meaning we will receive a smaller grant to cover the pay costs compared to other forces.” 

Ms Townsend pledged to continue lobbying the government for a change in the current formula, asserting her commitment to securing fair police funding on behalf of Surrey’s residents.