BOTH THURROCK MPS have backed controversial proposals for “the biggest cut to police funding for a generation.”
Jackie Doyle-Price and Stephen Metcalfe both voted to approve the Police Grant Report (England and Wales) for 2012-13.
Presenting the bill on Wednesday in the House of Commons, minister for policing, Nick Herbert said: “This Government inherited the largest budget deficit in our peacetime history. The deficit needs to be reduced, which means less spending across the public sector, and the police service must play its part.”
The vote comes as a bitter blow to policing in Thurrock which is already under severe strain. Thurrock has seen a massive spike in burglaries in areas such as South Ockendon. Council officers have also reported a huge increase in anti-social behaviour and public order in Purfleet and Tilbury.
Basildon magistrates court is packed every single day with a large number of cases from Thurrock. It would be overflowing but for the fact that a large number of cases are either released without charge, don’t pass the CPS 80% thresholds or are products of a “triage” system.
Police officers in Thurrock have both privately and publicly signed the police federation petition: “The cuts are criminal.”
Responding to the news, prospective parliamentary candidate for Thurrock (Labour), Polly Billington said:
“It’s deeply worrying that in Essex, police officers have been cut – we are losing more than any other force in the East of England. This is bound to have an impact. I am worried not only how it will affect serious and low level crime in Thurrock, but also the effect it will have on the morale of ordinary police officers serving in Essex Constabulary. Quite frankly, David Cameron and his Home Secretary Theresa May should think again and put public safety first.”
The Essex figures are part of wider research showing that 90% of the police officers cut are from the front line.
Yvette Cooper MP, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, said:
“The Prime Minister’s claim that the proportion of front line officers has gone up was both wrong and out of touch.
“Over 4,000 officers have gone from front line jobs in the first year of the Tory-led Government alone.
“And these new figures from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Police also show that 9 out of 10 of the total police officers lost in the first year were from frontline jobs. That means the proportion of officers on the front line has fallen too.
“This Government is cutting the police too far and too fast. We have continually warned that cutting 20% from the police budget and cutting 16,000 police officers across the country would have a damaging impact on the front line.
“The Government should switch to our plans for a 12% cut to the police budget so that the number of police officers and front line services can be protected.
“The Prime Minister and the Home Secretary need to set out a plan to cut crime instead of just cutting police officers.
“Personal crime, including theft, robbery and violence, has gone up by 11 per cent over the last year – the steepest increase for over a decade. This is a terrible time to cut 16,000 police officers. The Tory-led Government is out of touch with communities on crime and public safety, and they need to think again.”
Jackie Doyle-Price and Stephen Metcalfe are unavailable for comment.