Police are warning cuts will put public at risk

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People are very concerned about crime and more than one person has asked why they just don’t see the Police anymore. I haven’t met anyone who thinks we need less police officers!

Cuts to the Police are wrong. They need our support and our respect. They can’t do the job without the numbers. People know this and their fears about crime aren’t misplaced. The latest British Crime Survey figures showed personal crime – including theft, robbery and violence – had gone up by 11% since last year, the steepest rise for more than a decade.

Now new figures show the number of police dealing with 999 emergencies has fallen by more than 5,000 since the last general election. The figures were compiled from responses to freedom of information requests from all 43 forces in England and Wales. This is more than a severe embarrassment to the government, which has insisted that its 20% funding cuts would not compromise public safety or the fight against crime.

Only last month David Cameron told the Commons that the percentage of frontline officers was actually increasing. Ministers have claimed more officers are being switched to the “sharp end” as back office jobs go and police bureaucracy is reduced. The new data supplied by the forces themselves and verified independently by the House of Commons library, shows a fall of 5,261 in the number of officers defined as “first responders” between March 2010 and December last year.

Maybe when Dave is insisting time and again that we listen when he says ‘let me clear about this’ he simply makes mistakes. Maybe it’s because he looks at things completely differently and is out of touch with the facts and out of touch with reality that he doesn’t believe the figures. Maybe Dave believes his ministers when they have repeatedly said that crime and police effectiveness “do not depend on numbers”

The Police know that’s wrong. Paul McKeever, chairman of the Police Federation, which represents 135,000 officers, said the impact of the cuts would raise questions about the police’s ability to contain events such as last summer’s riots. “It puts more pressure on those who are left. In particular, those involved in responding are stretched and it puts their safety on the line,” he said.

“It also impinges on the public’s safety. We keep getting the same mantra from government that it wants to concentrate on crime that it’s a core responsibility, and that’s sending one message to the public. The message is that they expect us to do everything, which cannot be right. We have to acknowledge that, with cuts of between 20% and 32%, we cannot do more with that much less.”

Let me be clear. The Police need our support and our respect. When they tell us what is happening. I think we should listen to them.

Anthony Rutherford

Prospective Labour Party Candidate for Hipperholme and Lightcliffe Ward.