The Chancellor suggests that the taxpayer will have to pick up the costs of funding the consequences of the Covid pandemic. Before that happens, I would hope that a radical, reforming Government would take a long hard look at existing expenditure and services.

Take Quangos. There are about 766 of them, the largest being local authorities. Is it really necessary to have both district and county councils both responsible for different services for the same area? There is plenty of scope for saving money and being more effective.

The Police Foundation, an independent police policy forum is currently conducting a strategic review of the police. The current police budget for 43 forces in England and Wales is £13.3bn.

Phase one of the Review, which is now with the Home Secretary, has looked at the role of the police. It has established that the public safety challenge facing the police today has been transformed by technology, globalisation and increasingly complex social problems.

Most crime is now based on the internet, and the most common crime is fraud, not theft. Police investigative work has moved towards dealing with crimes that take place in the home or other private settings. Yet the police structure remains basically a nineteenth-century model.

As a twenty-four hour responsive service, police forces now spend a great deal of their time responding to more incidents involving those who suffer from multiple disadvantages. In many cases, the police are now required to adopt more of a safeguarding rather than an enforcement role.

Looking at the current role of the police, and why they have to pick up the responsibilities of other public services, is key to determining what the police should or should not do.

As a member of the Review, there are two things that are apparent to me which are ripe for reform. The first of these is that the uniformed police officer wandering on the streets is an expensive waste of resources. Secondly, the maintenance of public order on the streets requires the ability to move large numbers of police to any given area.

Consequently, the present structure of 43 forces is now an obsolete model sustained by a complex funding formula whereby 90% of the funding comes from central government. This makes a mockery of supposedly “local” control by police and crime commissioners, themselves costing £55m.

Answering these questions will form part of the second Phase of the Review now underway.

Sir John Wheeler was a Conservative MP for 18 years, serving as Security Minister at the Northern Ireland Office under Sir John Major. A security expert, Wheeler undertook a review of airport security for the UK and Australian governments after the terrorist attacks of September 11 2001.  He was also the chairman of the Service Authorities of the National Crime Squad and the National Criminal Intelligence service.