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Suffolk Police Federation

Labour announces plans for 13,000 new neighbourhood officers

20 February 2023

Labour’s Yvette Cooper has promised an additional 13,000 neighbourhood police officers and a guarantee of community patrols if her party wins power.

The Shadow Home Secretary set out her ambition in a keynote speech at the Institute for Government on Thursday and said the £360 million cost would be met through shared procurement and efficiencies.

Suffolk Police Federation chair Darren Harris has given the news a cautious welcome.

Darren said: “The Federation has consistently argued that neighbourhood policing is not a ‘nice to have’ but is essential to the idea of policing with consent. The bobby on the beat is the eyes and ears of the community and provides reassurance and a deterrent.

“We appreciate the Labour Party’s ambition for more beat officers and a guarantee of community patrols. Some 6,000 community officer posts have been lost in the last decade and neighbourhood policing is often in the firing line when it comes to cuts.”

He added: “I do want to sound a note of caution around though, because we don’t want to see further increases on the council tax precept if the hoped-for savings do not materialise. Household bills are high enough as it is, including for our members and their families, so we would want to see the cost of extra officers met by central funding.”

In her speech, the Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper promised to restore the “bobby on the beat” with a named officer for each community.

She explained that this would be: “Drawing on the traditional core of British policing - the bobby on the beat - but modernised for a new age, equipped with new training and technology so they can use data to target hotspots, react quickly and build partnerships to solve problems.

“Over 13 years the Conservatives have let communities down. Only Labour is the party of law and order now.”

Policing minister Chris Philp hit back, saying: “Labour’s announcement is over four months old and further evidence of their soft on crime approach – their proposed investment is a tenth of what we are delivering. This Conservative Government is recruiting the most police officers we have ever had, with 20,000 fully funded extra police officers being recruited by April this year, equipped with full powers of arrest.”

 

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April 2024
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