The House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts published a report on the financial sustainability of police forces this week which should act as a stark warning to Government that cuts to Police funding must be reversed, and our police forces resourced properly. With a fifth fewer officers and staff since 2010-11 making fewer arrests despite a rise in violent crime and sexual offences, it is no wonder that the public are losing confidence in their police forces.
Despite the Chancellor’s false claims of an end to austerity, the recent budget failed to address the issue of police funding. The report suggests the problem goes even deeper than cuts, claiming that Government ‘does not have a national picture of demand for police services and so has a limited understanding of what resources forces need’.
Having spent a day with Bedfordshire Police not that long ago, I know only too well how hard the officers work to deal with as many issues as they can, but there’s only so much they can do with such depleted resources.
I’ve been calling on the Government to address Bedfordshire Police’s funding crisis since before my election, and I’ll keep doing it. I support their bid for funding from the Police Special Grant too, but that needs to be as well as, not instead of, a proper long-term funding settlement.
It’s sad that public confidence is waning but it was perhaps inevitable in the face of such a complete refusal by Government to accept the facts.
All I can say is I’ll keep fighting, but please don’t stop reporting crimes. Without the data about what’s happening on our streets, it will become harder to make the case that there’s not enough resource.