Saturday, 10 March 2012

169 front line Police officers lost in Lancashire - Local Tories demand greater reductions

Between March 2010 and 2011 police officer strength in England and Wales fell by approximately 4,600 (3.2%).

Now Peter Britcliffe, Tory leader in Hyndburn is demanding more. They are unhappy at the 2.5% rise in Council Tax (below inflation so a cut) and think it should be 0% resulting in further front line police officers being lost including the neighbourhood police unit in Baxenden.

HMIC data suggests that approximately 4,100 of these were front line officers and 500 non-front line. This is a fall of 3.5% in the number of front line officers and 2% of non-front line.
  • 16,000 police officers being cut by 2015
  • 8,000 already gone since the general election
  • 4,000 frontline officers lost in the first year alone of the Tory Government
In Lancashire there has been a reduction in 2010/11 of 169 front line police officers over the 14 districts. Thats 12 front line officers lost in Hyndburn as aresult of the goevrnments 20% cuts to Policing budgets.

Chief Constable Steve Finnigan of the Lancashire constabulary, who is the ACPO lead on police performance management said:

“Let me be really clear. With the scale of the cuts that we are experiencing…we can do an awful lot of work around the back office…but we cannot leave the front line untouched.”
According to Demanding Times, HMIC ‘the police front line comprises those who are in everyday contact with the public and who directly intervene to keep people safe and enforce the law’
Cuts have to be made but these cuts go far and are too fast. They put the public at risk. Cuts have to be made but not on this scale. Such deep cuts across all government departments has damaged the economy and is according tothe OBR resulting in the need for even further cuts. £158billion of further cuts.

Such deep cuts are counterproductive.

Labour supports a 12% cuts plan to protect the number of police officers, based on work by former Home Secretary Alan Johnson prior to the election and work by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary who said that a cut beyond 12% would harm frontline policing.

Labour’s reduction of 12% over a Parliament, or around £1 billion a year by the end of the Parliament, requires tough choices to protect police numbers. It includes cuts in overtime, reform of procurement, pay restraint, collaboration and altering shift patterns. We believe these savings are possible – and the loss of 16,000 police officers is proof that going beyond 12% means cutting police officers, not waste.

Tory-led Government’s position

The Government has gone further than what Labour and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate said was possible – cutting the police budget by 20% with the largest cuts in the first two years and total cuts of around £2 billion a year by 2014. The Tory-led Government has cut more from the police budget in the first two years of the CSR than Labour would have cut over a Parliament.

The Tories claim they have found more savings from overtime, procurement, and pay – but these proposals were all taken into account when the HMIC said in July 2011 that 16,000 police officers would be cut and frontline services would be hit by the size of the Government’s cut. Rather than supporting Labour’s 12% plan the Tories have cut 16,000 police officers instead.