3 May 2023
The Government must overhaul the way it funds the police service if it wants to see improvements and a return to “old-fashioned” policing, according to Gwent Police Federation.
Branch chair Matthew Candy spoke out after Home Secretary Suella Braverman repeated her calls for “common sense policing”.
In a speech to the Public Safety Foundation, Ms Braverman insisted policing should be about “fighting crime, catching criminals, and keeping the public safe”.
She said the public wanted to see officers “pursuing good old fashioned criminal justice rather than social justice” and took a swipe at Forces which had “completely abandoned impartiality in favour of taking partisan positions – sometimes even engaging in political argument on Twitter”.
“Now I believe in the police. But the policing in which I believe isn’t riven with political correctness, but enshrined in good old fashioned common sense”, said Ms Braverman.
Matthew said the Police Federation agreed with her sentiment and had been saying the same things for several years.
But he added that the move away from community policing to models based on centralised hubs were a direct result of the funding cuts introduced by the Government more than a decade ago.
He said: “We all want ‘good old fashioned common sense policing’ but first we have to make sure more than 10 years of under-funding and the dismantling of policing’s infrastructure is reversed.
“Addressing the long-running row over police pay would be a good start with a sensible negotiation over our 17 per cent pay claim and the scrapping of the Police Remuneration Review Body.
“The Government must then look at the whole funding model and bring in a mechanism that allows forces to plan strategy for the future and budget more effectively rather than trying to operate on the current yearly settlement system which doesn't really work for large organisations like police forces.
“The funding cuts of the last 13 years have led to huge changes in the way forces are organised and returning to the models of community policing which the Home Secretary talks about will take time and investment.
In her speech, Ms Braverman said she believed policing had reached a turning point.
She said: “We must all work towards rebuilding public trust and refocusing on the public’s priorities.”
Matthew responded: “Our members are more than willing to play their part but their commitment to change has to be matched by the Government.”