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Police apprenticeship funding worth millions 'disappeared down a black hole'


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Police apprenticeship funding worth millions 'disappeared down a black hole'

Welsh government has allegedly said even if it has received funding, it will not pass the money on.

Sam Roberts

Sam Roberts


All four Welsh police chiefs and PCCs have no idea where two years’ worth of apprenticeship levy money has gone, the Wales Police Federation lead has confirmed.

PFEW's Sam Roberts appealed to Home Secretary Sajid Javid for help at the annual conference in Birmingham last week.

“We are a minority amongst police federation and amongst England and Wales and with minority there always has to be inequality,” she said.

“We have spent as four Welsh police forces £2million on the apprenticeship levy last year and this year. That £2 to £4million has gone, has disappeared, it’s gone into a black hole, we don’t know where it is.

“I have spoken to the Home Office, I have spoken to MPs, I have spoken to AMs and I’ve spoken to the first minister. I’ve spoken to four Welsh chiefs and I’ve spoken to the four PCCs.

“Nobody seems to know where it is.

“Now we have to have equality for Wales and Welsh police officers and Welsh recruits so, ever the sergeant, I’m tasking you to go back to the Home Office, find out where that money is and let us do what we need to do in Wales. Because at the moment it’s who blinks first between the Welsh government and Westminster.

“We need that money to ensure there’s parity for Welsh officers along with their English colleagues.”

Mr Javid said he was “genuinely intrigued” and wanted to find out where the money is.

In a light-hearted reference to the much referenced CrimeStoppers “gang” he and his brother formed as children, he said: “So we’ll find out and I’ll go back to my old crime busting ways when I was ten years old.  

“It sounds like from what you’ve said, it’s just disappeared and that doesn’t sound like the way it should work so let’s find out where it is.”

He added he had been deeply involved with the apprenticeship levy as Business Secretary.

“I’m a big believer in apprenticeships. I think far too many people are asked to go to university and do degrees and we should also be looking at other ways to skill people.

“And the way it’s supposed to work is the money that’s paid by any organisation, whether it’s the public or private sector, it belongs to that organisation.”

Ms Roberts claimed the Welsh government had told her it may have received the money back but would not pass it on to the forces as policing is not devolved in the country.

“I think that’s totally unfair,” she said.

Mr Javid responded: “That doesn’t sound right at all. The money is about the organisation, in this case your force, using that funding to train its officers. So let’s find out what the Welsh government is up to.”  

A Welsh Government spokesman said: “We have been very clear that the apprenticeship levy is a UK Government employment tax which directly conflicts with and undermines areas of devolved responsibility.

"We do however recognise the concerns raised by police forces in Wales and have been making strong representations to the UK government on their behalf. Responsibility for operational policing matters, including training, rests solely with the Home Office and it should therefore fund such training as policing is not devolved.”

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My understanding is the police were required to contribute to the apprenticeship levy. 

My further understanding was that the police do not currently employ apprentices in so many terms so are currently unable to tap into the apprenticeship fund.

It also sounds like the Welsh Government are being sneaky... they are taking the apprenticeship levy funding as provided by Welsh forces but then claiming any funding for the Welsh forces should be solely home office based...

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