North loses hundreds of police officers in just one year

The North has 288 fewer police officers working in our local communities, when compared to Spring 2010, official figures released today show.

 

Home Office workforce statistics show that the region's police forces have seen a 3.1 per cent reduction in the number of police officer posts, with Northumbria Police down 85 officers, Durham Police down 76 officers and Cleveland Police losing 69 officers when compared to March 2010. There are 58 fewer police officers working in Cumbria.


Yvette Cooper MP, Labour's Shadow Home Secretary, commenting on today's police service strength figures, said:

 

"Today's official statistics from both the Home Office and the independent inspectorate show that the damage to policing from the Government's 20% cuts is even worse than we previously feared.

 

"Already we have lost 4,650 officers since spring 2010. These have included specialist firearms officers, experienced officers who have cut crime in their communities, and even officers who recently won national bravery awards.

 

"The Home Secretary has said the cuts don't need to affect the number of officers or frontline services. But the independent inspectorate's report shows that is wrong. Many forces have no choice but to cut frontline officers because of the scale and pace of the Government cuts. And forces which have already done well in cutting bureaucracy and getting more officers out on the street are actually being hit harder because they are having to cut more now from the frontline.

 

"Theresa May has put Chief Constables up and down the country in an impossible position.

 

"Crime fell for many years under Labour, but people want it to fall further. Right now the Government has no plan to cut crime, they are only cutting officers instead."


Bridget Phillipson, Labour MP for Houghton and Sunderland South and Home Affairs Select Committee member said:

 

"These figures are deeply worrying. Police forces across the North East have already lost 230 police officers since Spring 2010. We're losing experienced police officers who have who have cut crime in their communities and we're losing police staff with vital specialised skills.

 

"By cutting 16,200 police officers across the country, including 2,500 frontline officers by next year alone, the Tory-led government is taking an irresponsible gamble with crime and public safety."


Councillor Joe Hendry, Leader of the Labour group on Carlisle City Council said:

 

“Cumbria Constabulary is a small force and to lose this number of police officers in one year will undoubtedly have an impact on the fight against crime and anti-social behaviour. The Tory-led government is taking a huge risk with public safety in Carlisle and across the County. We’re losing experienced officers and with the further cuts they are planning our police seem set to be undermined further.

 

“It’s disappointing that Carlisle’s Tory MP voted for these police cuts but I hope he now puts pressure on the Home Secretary to give Cumbria Police the resources they need.

 

"I know the Chief Constable and the Police Authority will do all they can to protect the front-line but they are been handcuffed by the actions of the government in Westminster.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

1. Link to HMIC report:

http://www.hmic.gov.uk/publications/Pages/home.aspx

2. Link to Police Strength statistics:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/science-research-statistics/research-statistics/police-research/hosb1311/

3. Labour recruited over 16,500 additional police officers and over 16,000 PCSOs.

4. HMIC's report shows that police officer levels will fall back to those a decade ago.

There will be fewer frontline police officers because of the Government's cuts.

As HMIC's report notes, police forces began to reduce their workforce in 2010/11 "in preparation for the CSR cuts".

The Government's argument that the frontline will somehow be unaffected has been exposed as complete rubbish - HMIC were told by 8 forces that the police officer cut they face is greater than the number of non-frontline officers in their force.

These forces are: Staffordshire; Humberside; West Midlands; Sussex; West Mercia; Gwent; Nottinghamshire; Devon and Cornwall.

HMIC have highlighted the risk that some forces - despite big cuts to police officers - will still face "an unexpected financial gap later on in the CSR period". For instance one force is assuming a 25% increase in precept for years 3 and 4.

Theresa May had previously claimed the Government's budget cuts need not automatically reduce police numbers:

In November, Theresa May said:

‘Lower budgets do not automatically have to mean lower police numbers.

Read more: <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1312242/Ministers-hit-police-scare-stories-Budget-cuts-spark-riots.html#ixzz1SZitfhef> http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1312242/Ministers-hit-police-scare-stories-Budget-cuts-spark-riots.html#ixzz1SZitfhef

In September Theresa May said:

"It's ridiculous to say that savings cannot be made. But lower budgets do not mean lower numbers:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11312300>http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11312300

Theresa May has also previously claimed that frontline policing can be left unaffected:

Andrew Marr: But you're cutting the central grant to the police and you're cutting the grants to local authorities. And it doesn't sound to me like you're taking responsibility for any cuts in police numbers as a result of either of those.

Theresa May: Well what I'm saying is that we know that it is possible for the police to make significant reductions in their budgets without affecting frontline policing.