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An end to austerity?

14 June 2017

With at least one aide close to the new Government suggesting that both Brexit and austerity measures were to blame for the Conservatives' failure to secure a majority in the General Election, it is going to be interesting to see if there is now a change of direction in these areas.

In the run-up to the election, the cuts to policing budgets became a real talking point in the wake of the terrorist atrocities in both Manchester and London with a number of police leaders speaking out on the true consequences of reducing police officer numbers.

At the Police Federation conference last month, delegate after delegate took the opportunity to tell Home Secretary Amber Rudd of the difficulties they were facing in their forces. Among the issues raised were the growing numbers of officer assaults, officers suffering from mental health issues due to the stresses of their role and the impact of long and drawn out investigations by the IPCC. Ms Rudd pledged to visit forces and speak to front-line officers so we can only hope that she fulfils this promise.

But she also needs to go further than this. She needs to fight our corner, put her words into actions and do everything within her power to ensure that the Government gives forces the money they need to restore officer numbers and provide truly visible neighbourhood policing, something we know our communities want.

In the coming weeks, we will be contacting all our local MPs asking them to support us in calling for a re-investment in policing. We would like to arrange to meet them to discuss our concerns and will keep you updated on progress with this work.

Finally, it may have gone largely unnoticed in all the fall-out from the General Election but we now have a new police minister - the fifth since the Conservatives came to power in 2010. Nick Hurd only took over from Brandon Lewis this week so we will have to wait to hear his views on policing. With his predecessor only holding the post for a few months, it would be nice to think that Mr Hurd will be allowed to stay in this role for a longer period so that he can truly get to grips with his portfolio. But, since the national Police Bravery Awards are just a few weeks away, he should quickly come to better understand the unique role we play in society and should get behind us and lobby the Government to protect the protectors. Only by looking after the police service can the Government truly expect us to be able to protect our communities.

Tiff Lynch