Letter to Editor: Policing should be properly funded
Crime / Mon 21st Nov 2022 at 07:46am
THE LEADER of Harlow Labour has called for policing in Harlow and the rest of the country to be “properly funded”.
Councillor Chris Vince said:
OVER the past decades we have seen unprecedented cuts to policing by this Conservative government. This has led to a lack of policing in our communities. The PFCC for Essex may claim he is recruiting more police officers now but 12 years of cuts have already caused huge issues in our communities.
Below are the policies that were agreed at the Labour conference on policing.
Having spoken to police across Essex it’s clear that lack of policing in communities has had its effect. However, what really struck me was the other issues that they are being forced to pick up above and beyond their usual duties. Cuts to things like mental health provision and to our NHS mean that they are having to do more and more. Although the PFCC may brag about new office recruits what he’s not talking about is the cuts to back room policing staff which means officers themselves have less time on the streets and more time in a back office. He’s also not talking about the lack of resources they have. Officers being forced to share squad cars is not uncommon.
Of course, policing has to be paid for but the alternative is alarming. Do we really want those who can afford it going down the line of hiring private security and the rest of us going without or do we want all our communities to be safe and inclusive places.
However, policing shouldn’t be just paid for by the PFCC increasing his proportion of the council tax bill, it should be properly funded by national government with a progressive taxation system that means those who can afford to pay a little more.
Once again, we never seem to get proper costings or how these programmes are to be funded.
Once again, the Conservatives made these cuts without any thoughts of the effects on our society. Whatever the reason for these cuts, be it “austerity”, saving money or, most likely, political ideology; they cannot argue that their savage cuts in funding of our public services have had severe consequences.
Chris Vince clearly missed the August 2022 announcement by Essex PFCC "There are now more Essex police officers than at any previous time in the force’s 182-year history": Please see: https://www.essex.pfcc.police.uk/news/new-officers-take-oaths-as-essex-police-reaches-record-strength/ Looking at Essex PFCC Annual Reports currently available on his website show increasing staff numbers in each successive year end from 31 March 2017 until 2021. Those year-on-year increases occur for three categories: police officers, PCSOs and other staff. For example, police officer numbers increase from 2800 in March 2017 to 3413 in March 2021. See for yourself at: https://www.essex.pfcc.police.uk/annual-report/ Also, both the PFCC and the Chief Constable say there will be 3755 full time equivalent police officers in March next year. Evidence is the most recent statement at: https://www.essex.police.uk/SysSiteAssets/foi-media/essex/what-we-spend-and-how-we-spend-it/statements-of-accounts/202122/2021-22-cc-soa-draft-unaudited.pdf
Minor correction to my earlier comment: PCSO numbers in Essex Police rose overall from 2017 to 2021, but not year on year. However, police officer and other staff numbers rose year on year. In the case of other staff from 1938 in 2017 to 2132 in 2021.
One would expect an increase in police numbers would lead to a fall in crime; crime presumably has costs outside the police "budget" so presumably a reduction in crime would save money elsewhere. An increase in convictions/fines might mean more revenue generated to offset a higher police budget (perhaps speed cameras should be hidden to generate more speeding fines). I suppose more convictions would initially mean an increase in the prison population thus increasing costs but perhaps longer term as people are deterred from criminality the prison population would fall. There is also the value to be attached to be people feeling safer as criminality decreases. Of course, one solution, could be to legalize drugs enabling them to be sold through chemists thus boosting high streets, raising taxation and reducing crime. The present system doesn't seem to work so well. It would be interesting to hear from "criminals" on here