Stoke & Staffordshire

Staffordshire PCC: Terror 'tipping police budget over edge'

Matthew Ellis Image copyright PA
Image caption Matthew Ellis called for more government funding for local counter-terrorism work

The need for more officers in the wake of terror attacks is tipping Staffordshire's budget "over the edge", says its police and crime commissioner.

Matthew Ellis wants more government funding for counter-terrorism and the 2% cap on how much the police can ask for from council taxpayers raised.

"Local commissioners should have the ability to raise the money that they think is necessary," he said.

The Home Office said counter-terrorism funding would rise by 30% by 2022.

Image caption Armed police have been on the streets in Stoke and other cities

Mr Ellis told BBC's Sunday Politics West Midlands he wanted to be make decisions over spending and be held to account "because the whole point of PCCs was more accountability," he said.

The Conservative PCC said day to-day policing in Staffordshire was in "a fairly good position financially" but the "additional resources that are on the streets now are tipping finances over the edge".

"I would be more than willing to have a conversation with the 1.2 million people who I represent across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent and say 'guys this is why I need to put the council tax up a bit more' and then it's down to me to justify that," he said.

Ruth Smeeth, the Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent North and Kidsgrove, said she would like to see funding increased at a "national level", especially as the county had "lost 501 warranted officers in the last six years".

Meanwhile, Sir Bill Cash, Conservative MP for Stone, said: " I actually do think what Matthew is saying needs to be very seriously considered and I shall be taking it back to the home secretary when I get back to Parliament."

The Home Office said last week it agreed in 2015 that overall police funding would be protected in real terms - and that cross-government spending on counter-terrorism would rise from £11.7bn to £15.1bn.

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