“I’m pleased to announce today an increase of up to £1.1 billion for police funding next year.”

Priti Patel, Twitter

December 16, 2021

Facts

Priti Patel’s claims that police funding was set to rise by £1.1bn may have been correct. However, there is a problem with the graph she attached showing a sharp rise in funding from £12.1bn in 2015/16 to £16.9bn in 2022/23.

The amounts of money detailed in the graph for each year are simply the funding figures announced at the time. This means that they don’t take into account inflation, reflecting the changing value of the pound. 

For example, the graph tweeted by Ms Patel and the Home Office shows a rise in police funding from £14.2bn to £15.4bn between 2019/20 and 2020/21. However, after adjusting for rising prices using the GDP deflator, £14.2bn in 2019/20 prices is equivalent to approximately £15.1bn in 2020/21 prices. In real terms, therefore, police funding increased by £0.3bn (from £15.1bn to £15.4bn). 

In 2015/16 police funding was £12.1bn in cash terms—representing the first and lowest point on the graph. However, if we apply the GDP deflator, this amounts to £14bn in 2020/21 money. 

A graph produced by the Institute for Government (IfG) demonstrates this more clearly, showing the change in gross police spending in England and Wales from 2009/10 to 2019/20. It shows a very different picture to the graph tweeted by the Home Office and Ms Patel, with a slight decrease in police spending in real terms between 2014/15 and 2016/17. 

According to the IfG analysis of government figures, gross police spending dropped sharply by more than 14% between 2009/10 and 2013/14. It remained below this level until 2019/20. 

For an exemplary analysis, see FullFact

Verdict 

Priti Patel’s Tweet was misleading her Twitter followers about police funding.

We approached Ms Patel’s office and the Home Office for comment, but no reply.

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