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25 October 2018
The Government must act on warnings of dire consequences for public safety and criminal justice if it does not invest more money in policing, says the secretary of West Midlands Police Federation, Steve Grange.
The warnings were published in the Policing for the Future report published by the Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC) today.
MPs on the committee conclude forces are struggling to cope in the face of changing and rising crimes, as a result of falling staff numbers, outdated technology, capabilities, structures, fragmentation and a failure of Home Office leadership.
“Sadly, these findings come as no surprise to anyone in policing and, in fact, simply echo what the Police Federation of England and Wales has been saying for many years now,” says Steve.
“You simply cannot slash police budgets year on year and expect the police to maintain an effective service for their communities, particularly at a time when demand is increasing. Cuts do have consequences and have clearly had an impact on the public we serve but also on police officers whose wellbeing has been severely affected.
“We have been accused of scaremongering when we have raised our concerns and our pleas for increased funding have fallen on deaf ears but let’s hope the HASC report makes the Government see that there is an urgent need for money to be ploughed into policing before it’s too late.”
The committee’s report contains 54 conclusions and recommendations. It states: “The Government must be clear and accurate about police funding, and the resource pressures facing forces.”
And it concludes: “Policing urgently needs more money. We strongly recommend that police funding is prioritised in both the upcoming budget and the next CSR (Comprehensive Spending Review).”
As well as raising concerns about funding, the committee tells the Home Office it must do more to protect and promote the welfare of the police workforce, a move welcomed by the Federation’s national vice-chair and welfare lead, Ché Donald.
Ché says: “This report wastes no time in getting straight to the heart of the matter and blames Government for the perilous position that policing now finds itself in. It warns that the Home Office cannot continue to stand back while police forces struggle
“HASC has recognised that not only will there be dire consequences for public safety and criminal justice without significant additional investment in the police service, but it has also recognised our position on the importance of officer welfare
“Our ground-breaking Demand, Capacity and Welfare Survey identified years ago that officers were cracking under the strain of working in an over-stretched service, with reduced resources and soaring levels of crime. And if the officers are not supported, the service itself will deteriorate and decline.”
The Government will publish its latest budget on Monday (29 October).