As many of you know, I strongly believe that our safety and security is achieved through us working with our partners and allies across the world. Being able to share police and security force information with dozens of our neighbouring countries ensures that we can hunt down criminals quicker than if we did it alone.
EUROPOL is one of those organisations that we must maintain membership of. But the UK Government wants us to leave it. This is a ridiculous idea that puts ideological fervor over pragmatism. I wanted to check if this was still the UK Government’s policy during Home Office Questions.
Sadly, the non-answer I received seemed to indicate that this is still the UK Government’s policy. This will undermine our police and security services. I will continue to campaign for us to retain our membership of EUROPOL to keep Delyn and the UK safe.
During Home Office questions my colleague Yvette Cooper MP asked the Home Secretary how many police officers would be recruited to increase our ability to tackle extremists and their terrorist activities. No answer was forthcoming so I used my question to ask the Home Secretary once more how many officers would be employed and when.
Not only did the Government frontbench feel that it was appropriate to snort at the call for more police the Home Secretary said it wasn’t the most important aspect of tackling terrorism. As a former Security and Policing Minister I can tell you that the number of bobbies on the beat in communities really does make a difference.
It is also important to remember that when the Home Secretary was running for leadership of the Tories he pledged to recruit another 20,000 officers. Miraculously now that he is no longer a candidate for the leadership he has forgotten this pledge despite the fact he occupies the one job in government where he could recruit more police.
During an interview with LBC radio the Home Secretary stated that he would spend £500million, plus annual costs, on the Northern Ireland border. This was without scrutiny from Parliament or publication of the figures for wider consultation.
It would appear that this number was plucked out of thin air during the interview to ensure a favourable reaction in his bid to be the next Prime Minister. We cannot run our government in this way.
That is why I raised these figures in the House of Commons. The Secretary of State didn’t answer my question and instead hid behind his Minister of State for Security who tells us that the Home Secretary has no recollection of these figures and asked that I write to him.
I have done just that, with a copy of the quotes from the interview. I hope that this will jog the memory of the Home Secretary and we can get some honest answers.
North Wales Police has had central government funding cuts of £31million. This has meant that our local constabulary has had to secure more funding from Council Tax which is a one of the most regressive taxes in the UK.
I asked the Minister for Policing how much extra will local Council Tax have to increase to make up for his cuts to our policing and he stated “…it doesn’t matter if funds are local or national it’s all taxpayers money”. Well, in North Wales the only way to tackle the increase in Council Tax is if the UK Government redistributes wealth from other parts of the UK. It is completely unfair that those with the broadest shoulders are not carrying the greatest burden.