PM feeling the heat as she stretches long arm of the law
Mrs May promised during the Conservative Party conference that austerity would come to an end and funding for public services would increase, but only after the Government spending review next year.
She repeated the comments in the House of Commons on Wednesday, when she said: “We will be setting out an approach in the spending review next year.
“What does it mean? I’ll tell you what it means: it means debt going down as a share of the economy and support for public services going up.”
However, Labour will accuse Mrs May of breaking her promise if there is no sign of an end to austerity in the Chancellor’s Budget on Monday.
Mr Hammond is also reported to be reluctant to provide more central funding for police.
Instead, the Cabinet is considering scrapping the cap on police precept increases. This is a cap on the amount that Police and Crime Commissioners are allowed to add to council tax bills in order to fund policing.
The cap for the current financial year was £12 per household.
Scrapping the cap could mean increases per household of £50-a-year – a measure likely to be unpopular with council tax payers but which would provide a welcome boost to police budgets.
The £12 increase provided an extra £9.5 million for West Midlands Police this year.
The Home Affairs Committee report paints a damning picture of police forces that cannot cope with the demands placed on them.
The MPs said: “Forces are badly overstretched: the number of traditional volume crimes is rising, but the number of arrests and charges brought by the police is falling.
“Policing is struggling to cope in the face of changing and rising crimes, as a result of falling staff numbers, outdated technology, capabilities and structures, and fragmented leadership and direction. Without significant reform and investment, communities will be increasingly let down.”
While recorded crimes have risen by 32 per cent in the last three years, but the number of charges or summons has decreased by 26 per cent, and the number of arrests is also down.
Although the MPs identified funding cuts as a major problem, they also said that reforms to policing were needed.
Police needed to improve co-operation with internet service providers to fight child pornography, MPs said, and every police officer should be required to undertake at least two days of training in mental health issues.
Forces had also been too slow to embrace new technology, the MPs said. However, they warned that the Government needed to provide a lead in pushing police forces to improve, and had failed to do so.
The MPs said: “Above all, policing is suffering from a complete failure of leadership from the Home Office. As the lead department for policing, it cannot continue to stand back while crime patterns change so fast that the police struggle to respond.
“Only a central Government department has the clout to drive national partnerships with organisations such as the NHS or with global internet companies, for example.”
The MPs called on the Government to launch a “transparent, root and-branch review of policing”, publishing proposals by the end of February.
Without extra funding, something will have to give...
> The Home Affairs Select Committee has warned the Government that police cuts are a threat to safety, justice, community cohesion and public confidence