90 days from today is Thu, 28 December 2023
25 October 2018
If policing doesn’t get additional funding in next week’s budget there could be ‘dire consequences’ for public safety and the service could become ‘irrelevant’, MPs have warned.
The Home Affairs Select Committee has urged policing to be prioritised and said that neighbourhood policing is bearing the brunt of budget cuts.
The damning Future of Policing report says forces are struggling to cope set against a drop in officer numbers and a rise in crime.
The Committee also accused the Home Office of showing a lack of leadership.
The report highlighted the role neighbourhood policing plays in counter terrorism after all but one force recorded a drop in neighbourhood officers.
“It is absolutely vital that this cornerstone of British policing is reaffirmed throughout the country, to ensure that trust and legitimacy is maintained,” it said.
“This is particularly important in communities in which distrust of the police – and in public authorities more widely – is rife, and in which those local links are all the more important.
“Nevertheless, in all neighbourhoods, without local engagement, policing is at risk of becoming irrelevant to most people, particularly in the context of low rates of investigation for many crimes.”
Committee Chair and Labour MP Yvette Cooper said the service urgently needs a cash injection.
“Crime is up, charges and arrests are down, and the police service is struggling to respond effectively to emerging and growing challenges, such as online fraud and online child abuse,” she said.
“Policing urgently needs more money. The Government must make sure policing is a priority in the budget and spending review, or public safety and communities will pay the price.”
PFEW vice-chairman and Welfare Lead Ché Donald said: “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.
“The Committee 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 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.”
A Home Office spokesman told The Guardian: “The Home Secretary has already been clear that he will prioritise funding for the police.
“The Policing Minister has spoken to leaders in every force in England and Wales to better understand the demand and changing nature of crime faced by forces.
“We are now working closely with the police to gather the evidence to ensure they continue to receive the resources they need at the next spending review.”