Po­lice chief: We couldn’t cope with ri­ots again

Birmingham Post - - NEWS -

THE West Mid­lands’ most se­nior po­lice of­fi­cer has con­demned bud­get cuts, warn­ing that forces would strug­gle to cope with a re­peat of the 2011 ri­ots which swept Birm­ing­ham.

Chief Con­sta­ble Dave Thomp­son said forces would face “real chal­lenges” tack­ling new un­rest fol­low­ing years of pres­sure to cut costs. He urged the Govern­ment to boost in­vest­ment, pro­tect front­line polic­ing – in­clud­ing bob­bies on the beat – and cut bu­reau­cracy.

“The fund­ing forces re­ceive needs to be sta­bilised with real terms pro­tec­tion for polic­ing as a whole,” he said.

“Last year we saw the prison ser­vice snap un­der pres­sure with ri­ots in Birm­ing­ham Prison. We can­not af­ford this to hap­pen to polic­ing but the strain is show­ing from re­cent weeks and we’d have real chal­lenges in deal­ing with some­thing like the 2011 ri­ots again.

“When things break re­cov­ery is never quick, and in polic­ing it takes con­sid­er­able time to re­cruit and train staff.”

The re­cent ter­ror at­tacks in Lon­don and Manch­ester saw po­lice re­sources re­quired on a vast scale, with the lat­ter lead­ing to a na­tion­wide de­ploy­ment of of­fi­cers. In­vest­ment in coun­tert­er­ror polic­ing has in­creased, along with par­tial in­creases for firearms of­fi­cers.

But in a blog for the Na­tional Po­lice Chiefs’ Coun­cil, Mr Thomp­son warned much of the re­sponse to ma­jor in­ci­dents came from core po­lice bud­gets. The firearms com­man­ders, ca­su­alty bureaux, cus­tody staff, body re­cov­ery teams and uni­formed of­fi­cers pa­trolling crowded spa­ces that are so cen­tral to pre­vent­ing and re­spond­ing to a ter­ror at­tack are paid for by core po­lice fund­ing,” he said.

“Over two-thirds of the polic­ing ef­fort af­ter the West­min­ster at­tack was not counter-ter­ror­ism funded. This fig­ure will be much higher fol­low­ing the Manch­ester at­tack.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.