§ Mr. Denham
The allocation of resources to rural areas is a matter for individual chief constables. This Government responded positively to the outcome of independent research into the policing of sparsely populated areas by the creation of the Rural Policing Fund to direct extra resources to rural forces.
In 2000–01 £15 million was allocated to 31 forces with more sparsely populated areas. In 2001–02 this was increased to a full-year allocation of £30 million. We are making available a further £30 million in 2002–03 to the same forces. Essex police benefit from the Rural Policing Fund and were allocated £503,710 in 2001–02. They will receive the same in 2002–03. It is for chief constables to determine how this money should be used to improve the policing of rural areas.
In addition the Crime Fighting Fund (CFF) is enabling all forces to take on a total of 9,000 extra recruits, over and above their previous recruitment plans for the three years to March 2003. Essex police has been allocated 197 CFF recruits over the three years.