Police Service Cuts
Police cuts will bite
Anxiety is growing at Westminster about the inevitable consequences of the cuts being forced on police services nationwide by the Tory / Liberal Democrat government. Fabian is desperately worried about the implications for West Yorkshire and for his constituents in particular. Apprehension about the future has become even stronger with the recent proposal for widespread closures of police stations in London, including some in difficult urban districts with a high incidence of crime and anti-social behaviour.
There is now frequent publicity for events surrounding the consequences of police cuts and this week Fabian is shown pictured in the House of Commons at a campaign photo shoot.
National figures make grim reading.
- The number of police officers has dropped by nearly 10,000 under this Tory-led Government
- This is more than Her Majesty's Inspector or Constabulary expected and shows the true depth of the cuts
- Substantially more than half of those cut so far are from 999, neighbourhood and traffic response - the officers we rely on in an emergency
- The UK has the lowest number of police officers on its streets in nearly a decade
- The number of Police Community Support Officers has fallen by 9% in the last year alone
- Crime fell by 43 per cent with Labour according to the British Crime Survey. The same survey shows this progress has ground to a halt under the Tory-led Government during which time we now know they have cut nearly 10,000 officers.
The newly elected Police Commissioner for West Yorkshire, Mark Burns-Williamson started his work with a salvo of communication to the Home Secretary, Theresa May, about the budget his force needs to do its work. His words have fallen on deaf ears. The budget set for 2013 - 2014 will be £331.7 Million compared to £337.1 for the current year. This is a reduction of over £5 Million in the context where inflation reduces the value of money anyway and it is being imposed on a police force that has already lost 1400 jobs. So the cuts are to continue with another 600 posts disappearing. There will be over 800 fewer officers preventing crime and catching criminals than two years ago. Taken together with the additional loss of specific government grants that promote community safety, real risks to the safety and security of those living and working in West Yorkshire are inevitable.
Fabian said today,
"I am not averse to change in police services but I am staggered that the government claims it is building new methods of delivery when, in fact, all it is doing is a savage demolition job. To cause a net reduction of 800 police officers in West Yorkshire is a scandalous dereliction of duty. The first priority for any government of whatever political colour is to ensure the safety and protection of its citizens. I fear for what will happen as the number of police falls. Inevitably there will be less investigation of burglary and other crimes. We risk seeing no-go areas at night in difficult districts when there will be fewer officers around and maybe police stations will be closed. Petty crime will get little attention. It's a very slippery slope. Once criminals get the message that some offences will get ignored then breaches of the law will multiply rapidly. Will it be safe to walk alone at night in the future? Will my house be protected against burglars? Will dangerous drivers be hounded off the roads? I cannot be sure. From the supposed party of law and order, these mindless cuts to police indicate a profound betrayal of trust by the Tories and Liberal Democrats towards all sections of the community. This Government is only interested in cutting police officers and not crime."