MERSEySIDE’S police chief has welcomed £1m of coronavirus funding – but warns it is not enough to cover the costs of protecting Merseyside during the pandemic so far.
Costs to Merseyside Police has already reached £4.7m over normal running costs for policing the coronavirus pandemic since March and, while it is hoped the region’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy will be able to recoup approximately £2.5m from central government for the purchase of PPE, this still leaves a significant shortfall.
Last week, the government announced an extra £30m of ‘surge’ funding for police forces across England and Wales to assist their enforcement of coronavirus regulations, with £999,776 being allocated to Merseyside Police. However, this funding cannot be used to cover the costs already incurred and has been provided to assist forces going forward.
Ms Kennedy said: “While this allocation of funds is welcome, it does not cover Merseyside Police’s outgoings so far and will, I hope, be followed through by more assistance. In the last six months, Merseyside Police has incurred nearly £4.7m in extra costs by policing this epidemic. This includes paying for PPE, specialist equipment and new cleaning regimes, and overtime.
“While I am confident we will get at least £2.5m paid back for the PPE that still leaves a significant shortfall. I am continuing to lobby government to fully reimburse us for the full cost of Covid-19 to date. As a blue-light service of last resort, the public rely upon the Force to continue working, keeping us safe, enforcing the law and engaging with the public regarding the epidemic and the regulations surrounding it.
“Nearly half-a-million pounds has already been spent covering overtime costs to increase patrols across Merseyside.”