The Labour Party secured an opposition day debate on Wednesday 24th February on police funding, crime and community safety. The debate was well attended by my fellow Labour colleagues where we spoke about the impact of Westminster cuts on policing and communities across England and Wales.
I took the opportunity to raise with the Home Secretary the effects of the cuts and how thinly spread the police officers are in South Wales. The reaction of the Home Secretary? She sat there just shaking her head. Shameful.
36 out of 43 police forces in England and Wales are having their funding slashed. The cuts to South Wales Police mean that it will have its funding cut by this Tory Government by £3.5 million in 2016/2017.
The overall impact in South Wales of the cuts are:
- £3.5million cut in budget from 2014/2015
- 239 Police Officers who have lost their jobs since May 2015
- 77 PCSO’s who have lost their jobs since May 2015
At the same time:
- 4% increase in crime across South Wales
- 23% increase in violent crime across South Wales
- 19% in sexual offences across South Wales.
Neighbourhood policing is the cornerstone of crime prevention. It enables officers to serve the public, remain vigilant to threats, and gather the most accurate intelligence about terrorism and gain crucial local-to-global intelligence, whether for use in the fight against terror or the fight against child sexual exploitation.
The Government cannot cull 35,000 posts from the police service and seek to maintain the protection of the public without any impact. The obvious impact of doing that is to put the public at risk. The police are now spread so thinly that they cannot do their job. We talk about risks and threats to national security and efforts to counter the threat we face from terrorism.
We need more resources to protect neighbourhood policing, not fewer. There is only one thing that you get for less—and that is less.
You can watch my speech here: