Holidaymakers pouring into Devon and Cornwall for summer breaks are putting local police services under mounting pressure.
The influx means increased pressure from car crashes, missing people and incidents around mental health issues. Now the government is to consider increasing police funding to help local forces cope.
The news has been welcomed by Devon and Cornwall’s police and crime commissioner Alison Hernandez, who was part of a westcountry delegation that put forward the case for funding.
She has campaigned for years for Devon and Cornwall Police to receive extra money because the force area has more visitors than any other outside London.
As well as joining the delegation, she submitted evidence to the home office as part of a project to develop a new funding formula for policing.
In an answer to a question by North Devon MP Selaine Saxby, policing minister Chris Philp said 'rurality, sparsity and seasonality, particularly seasonal tourism” are likely to be considered as part of a consultation into a new funding formula.
The formula determines how much each police and crime commissioner receives for their respective forces from central government, with the rest of the budget made up from the policing ‘precept’ added to council tax bills.
The current formula provides no financial recognition of the number of visitors that forces must deal with. The government intends to consult on a new formula ‘in due course’.
Ms Hernandez said: 'At this time of year the number of incidents that Devon and Cornwall Police must deal with increases substantially. These incidents are not only crime related but are linked to road traffic collisions, missing people and calls for help from people who are experiencing mental ill health.
'Devon and Cornwall’s rurality and sparsity add to the challenge of dealing with the visitor influx and it is fantastic that those in Westminster have heard our message. I will continue to make the case that Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are worthy of additional central government investment so we can maintain the force area as one of the safest in England and Wales for our resident populations and those who choose to holiday in this wonderful part of the world.
'I look forward to taking part in the forthcoming consultation on this formula.'
Figures presented to the government in 2019 showed a 14 per cent increase in incidents between April and October in Devon and Cornwall, the largest increase amongst English and Welsh forces.