Police forces across England and Wales could see a funding boost of more than £600m next year as part of the government’s efforts to find more money for frontline policing.
Sky News understands that Home Secretary Sajid Javid has cut a deal with Chancellor Philip Hammond and James Brokenshire, the communities secretary, to double the amount that local authorities can add to council tax bills for policing.
It is thought that ministers have provisionally agreed to allow local authorities to increase the precept charge on council tax bills from £1 a month to £2 a month from April 2019 – or £12 to £24 annually.
Sky News has been told that doubling precept could raise around £450m nationally for police forces across England and Wales.
It is believed the Home Office and Treasury could also commit around another £170m to general police funding, which could help forces plug some of the £420m black hole in officers’ pensions pots.
It is thought the £170m is coming half from the Home Office and half from the Treasury.
The additional money comes on top of an extra £160m for counter-terrorism announced by Mr Hammond in the budget last month.
While the details are still being finalised in Whitehall, an annual settlement of this sort of sum would dwarf the £450m extra secured for the police last year and comes amid growing alarm over knife crime.
Speaking exclusively to Sky News earlier this month in the wake of five stabbings in just seven days, Mr Javid said he was “deeply worried” about spiralling street violence as he hinted at a funding boost in the annual financial settlement.
“I think resources is part of the issue, making sure that police as they deal with more of these complex situations that they have the resource they need,” said the home secretary.
“What we saw in this budget was a chancellor that was listening. He listened to the needs of the defence service and health and others and he set out quite rightly that he’s going to listen to the needs of the police, so I am very confident that he’s listening.”
The funding boost comes amid growing tension between police chiefs and the government over police funding after years of cuts.
Community policing has fallen by up to a fifth since 2010 on the back of budget cuts, while officer numbers fell more than 20,000 over the same period.
The settlement could be announced as early as next week but has yet to be signed off by the Home Office, according to Sky sources.
One government source told Sky News that Mr Javid had been pushing for a £30-a-year precept on council tax bills, which amounts to a £2.50 monthly charge.