THE new PM’s announcement of 20,000 new police officers was given a cautious welcome this week by Thurrock Labour leader Cllr Jane Pothecary.
Cllr Pothecary said: ‘Having been told repeatedly by our Tory Police & Crime Commissioner that the severe shortage of police officers has had no effect in crime, it is reassuring to see that his party have finally woken up and smelled the coffee. Unfortunately, as we are all too aware, Boris’ promises tend not to be worth the bus they’re written on – a bit like our own council leader, whose own £1m promise doesn’t appear to have put a single officer on the streets yet.
‘Assuming for the moment that either Mr Johnson or Cllr Gledhill puts his money where his mouth is, all we’re talking about is a partial repair of the damage done by his predecessors. I am painfully aware of the constraints our police are under as after too many years misguided austerity politics. As we know, Essex alone has lost some 800 police officers since 2010; it will take more officers than Boris is promising to put that right.
‘Let’s be clear, as the Tories have decimated our police force in Essex, crime has just continued to increase. A year ago a leaked Essex police report noted crime up by 11.7%; hate crime up; and child sexual abuse cases up 37% over two years. Meanwhile the report noted that Essex Police lacked the extra resources to combat these serious crimes. Despite the Commissioner’s repeated denials there is a clear link between the rise in crime and the shackles we have put on our police forces, starving them of the resources they need to keep communities safe.
‘I welcome the government’s admission that this ideologically-motivated, short-sighted policy has failed, but I’ll reserve my opinion until I see the colour of the Tories’ money’