12 March 2019
Leicestershire Police Federation chair Dave Stokes says it is an insult for the Chancellor to suggest the service needs to ‘prioritise’ better rather than expect more money to tackle the knife crime epidemic.
Philip Hammond claimed there were sufficient police resources to deal with the issue, which is sweeping the country.
This appeared at odds to the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, who pledged to ‘do everything I can’ to ensure police have the resources they need after a summit with police chiefs in which they requested emergency funding to tackle knife crime.
In response to Mr Hammond’s comments, Dave said: “Let me categorically assure the Chancellor, our members and our communities, that tackling knife crime is a priority. On a day to day basis, I’ve seen senior police mangers juggle resources, prioritise risk and change policing models, not because they outright need changing, but because of the limited and hugely reduced policing numbers that we now have. I’m not a politician and I won.t use percentages, so I respectfully ask the Chancellor a question: my Force has shrunk by a similar number of officers that are needed to provide a minimum response model. Knowing this, does he stand by what he said? I would also invite the Chancellor to come and work a late shift with me. Let’s work a shift together and then see if he stands by his comments?
"His comments are an insult to the professionalism of our dedicated and hard-working officers. And while children are dying in the street, they demonstrate a dreadful lack of awareness.
"Our officers are out there, tackling knife crime directly to prevent more young lives being lost and more families being devastated. They are often the first on the scene, desperately trying to save people’s lives and having to break the tragic news to victims’ families.
“But they can’t do it with one hand tied behind their backs. Addressing the glaring issue of police resources has to be a key part of the solution in getting a grip on this crisis.”
Meanwhile, national Federation chair John Apter was due to meet Mr Javid yesterday (Monday) to discuss the knife crime epidemic.
He said: “It is vital that the voice of the police officers I represent is heard when considering how to tackle this national crisis. And I am very pleased that the Home Secretary has agreed to my request to meet.
“Front-line officers must be able to contribute to the debate to help end this surge in violence. They are the ones dealing with it day in day out and their experience and insight is invaluable.
“We know this cannot be solved overnight, or by the police alone, but we certainly need to be at the heart of any solution."