Officers are under so much pressure
THE powerful Home Affairs Select Committee’s recent report on policing mirrored what many in Rochdale and many tens of thousands of people nationwide already know.
In their words: “Police officers are performing a remarkable service in increasingly difficult circumstances but forces are struggling to cope. Crime is up, charges and arrests are down .... policing urgently needs more money.”
It’s important to remember the Select Committee is all-party, including Conservative MPs, so their judgement is not party-political but based on a ruthless assessment of reality. And that’s why the recent Budget was such a waste.
Policing like many other areas of life, needs more money – they didn’t get it.
The Prime Minister told us that austerity was over, but Chancellor Hammond doesn’t seem to have realised.
Of course, there were things we would all welcome in the Budget but the government has lost the plot as to what is happening in the real world.
Yes, we do need money for the potholes in our roads, which have been so badly neglected.
But there is something profoundly wrong when the Chancellor puts more money into pothole repair (£420m) than into our schools (£400m) and for schools that is not a lot of money – amounting to £10,000 for a primary school.
Rochdale’s schoolchildren need teachers and classroom assistants not some money for ‘the little extras’, as Mr Hammond explained.
Back on policing, I know of no officer who is happy with the service the police are now able to provide and as many reading this will know, we have already lost some 2,000 officers in Greater Manchester – leaving around 6,000 to face increasing pressure.
And pressure is about crime going up, about people needing help at a time of emergency. But what’s worse is that instead of responding to this with more money, the government has decided police budgets are going to have to find room for a bigger share of police pensions.
Even more pressure on budgets doesn’t keep our homes and streets safe.