Of­fi­cers are un­der so much pres­sure

Rochdale Observer - - REMEMBRANCE SPECIAL -

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.

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