I called on the Policing Minister to ensure that the police have the resources they need to do their job. The chronic under-investment of the police has meant more officers are being used on overtime and this costs the taxpayer far more than through employing more officers.
The minister made two disingenuous points. The first was that I’m in denial over “economic reality”. I can tell the minister in no small terms that the banking crisis was not caused by Labour’s investment in local neighbourhood policing or education it was caused by the greed of a few in international finance wrecking the global economy. The second point made by the minister is that the UK Government have invested in policing this year. That is simply not true. We have seen a 20% cut in policing budgets in North Wales since 2010.
The Government simply doesn’t get it. Crime is rising because police officers are stretched. Continued failure to invest in our police will undermine our safety.
Today, I attended an event to help raise awareness of rural crime and ways to prevent it. The event was jointly hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Rural Crime, the National Farmers Union and CrimeStoppers and was the formal launch of a new service for farmers, rural businesses and the public could contact to anonymously report rural crimes.
This service will provide a dedicated number, with call handlers specifically trained in rural crime, for farmers, rural businesses and the general public to anonymously report rural crime.
The bill for rural crime is now more than £42.5 million and farmers and their families in some parts of the UK have been victims of arson, vandalism and burglary with many experiencing fear, intimidation and threats of violence. Vehicle theft, hare coursing and fly-tipping are also contributing to widespread anger, frustration and worry within rural communities, according to NFU reports. Read more “Supporting Efforts to stamp out rural crime”
There have been two resignations from senior members of the Government’s cabinet today. The Foreign Secretary and the Secretary of State for Exiting the EU have both departed because they stated they had no confidence in the proposals put before them. The Government is in a mess, the Prime Ministers authority lays in tatters and we are still none the wiser on what our future relationship with the EU will be once we leave. Remember a deal must be struck by October 2018 and voted upon by Parliament to ensure that we do not fall off a cliff edge in March 2019.
Many people pressed the Prime Minister on the political situation she finds herself in. I wanted to drill down into further detail on our future security relationship with the EU. It is shocking to see that the former Home Secretary is willing to throw the European Arrest Warrant overboard and put our safety at risk. I asked her what the Government is doing to support our police officers in catching criminals and bringing them to justice.
Tonight I voted against the UK Government’s police grant report. It was promised by the Government that they would increase police funding for the next financial year by £450m but in reality the Home Office have used this report to slash local police funding by £100m. This is because the Home Office have put in place a cash-freeze in their funding. The only way for North Wales Police to reclaim that loss of income is by requesting an increase in your Council Tax.
The settlement comes in the context of increasing pressure on police forces following an overall reduction in spending since 2010 of over £2.8bn, resulting in a loss of 21,000 officers. For many police forces. particularly ones with low Council Tax bases such as ours, the amount raised by the precept will be effectively wiped out by the real-terms reduction in Home Office funding and broader inflationary pressure. Police Chiefs had warned the Home Office that a settlement which only covers inflation will mean police are unable to meet rising demands and “reverse the reduction in preventable activity.”
Only recently figures released showed that crime was rising in North Wales. Labour has pledged to hire an additional 10,000 police officers, 1,000 more security staff and 500 more boarder guards. Only buy giving the police the resources they need can we secure our neighbourhoods.