THE CALL by Gloucestershire’s Chief Constable Rod Hansen this week for increased local funding to claw back county-wide cuts exposes a wider and deeper national policing crisis, Cheltenham Labour Party says.
Mr Hansen yesterday urged a council tax increase to fund 74 more officers for his force. Gloucestershire police numbers have now fallen to 1,071, down by almost a fifth (1,309) since 2011.
At the same time violent crime in Gloucestershire has increased by 16 per cent over the past year, with 9,247 incidents of ‘violence against persons’ reported.
“Police and other essential services are now forced into lobbying for local solutions to a national crisis inflicted by Government,” Labour Chair Joanna Hughes points out.
The National Audit Office last year estimated police funding across Britain had crashed by almost 20 per cent since 2011 and accused the Home Office of being ‘ineffective’ and ‘detached’ towards its own policy.
Figures for the current year show further real terms reductions.
“Local government should not be expected to carry the burden of these devastating cuts to national funding,” Joanna says.
“Theresa May and her ministers are currently pumping billions into doomsday preparations for a no-deal Brexit – gaming scenarios for ‘civil unrest’ and ‘martial law’.
“Against this backdrop, the failure to maintain even a workable level of police funding across the country is exposed for what it is – a crime against common sense.
”Government needs to take responsibility for the safety of our communities,” Labour’s Chair argues.
“But our Prime Minister seems intent on doing the opposite – stoking up a climate of fear and national threat at the same time as she strips our essential services of the resources they need even to function.”
Labour’s 2017 manifesto pledges to restore police funding and resources, beginning with a 10,000 increase in neighbourhood officers working in communities.