Rother Valley MP blames broken Government promises for plummeting police numbers

Figures for last year show that police numbers are now at the lowest level in three decades, writes Sir Kevin Barron MP.

Since 2010, more than 21,000 police officers have been lost and more than 16,000 police staff and 6,000 community support officers have been axed, despite a promise to protect the frontline.

Sir Kevin Barron MP

Sir Kevin Barron MP

Police recorded violent crime is now at the highest on record, knife offences are at the highest level since records began, arrests have halved in a decade and unsolved crimes stand at two million.

Budgets have been cut by £2.7 billion in real terms between 2010 and 2018 and the Government has already broken promises made by the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary to protect funding, slashing Government funding by more than £400 million since 2015.

Rather than properly fund the police, ministers have chosen to heap the burden on to local taxpayers by raising the precept and it is communities in the most need, suffering from the largest cuts, which will get the least.

There should be no winners and losers when it comes to public safety.

Passing the burden on to tax payers to fund the increase in the police is fundamentally unfair.

By 2020-21 the police will also face another financial black hole as their pension liability will rise to £420 million and the Chief of the National Police Chiefs’ Council has warned it could amount to the loss of a further 10,000 officers, as the police are legally obliged to set a balanced budget.

The settlement announced late last year offers no certainty on this.

The year ahead is going to be tough as Britain prepares to exit the European Union.

As ever, I will be voting in a way that respects the will of the people of Rother Valley and working with colleagues to achieve the best deal for Britain.