Patel must engage with the police and understand the impact of cuts

25 Jul 19

The chair of the Essex Police Federation Steve Taylor writes of his hopes the new home secretary – Priti Patel - will share the same positive views as her boss Boris Johnson seems to on policing. 

 

Cuts to policing have had consequences.

Police crime figures in England and Wales for the last year show that public disorder is up 16%. Fraud is up 17%. Knife crime is up 8%. And robbery is up 11%.

This will be Theresa May's legacy when it comes to policing.

When she became home secretary in 2010 there were 143,734 police officers in England and Wales.

As she exits as prime minister there are now 123,170. That's 20,564 fewer.

There are also 15,185 fewer members of police staff.

She has done her best to ruin the best police service in the world. And the public now know it.

That’s why it was refreshing – on his first day in office – to hear new prime minister Boris Johnson say: “My job is to make your streets safer. And we are going to begin with another 20,000 police on the streets - and we are going to start recruiting forthwith.”

After nearly 10 years of policing being plenty of politicians’ punchbag, it has been nice - whatever you think of Boris Johnson - to hear some positivity about The Job from someone in such a position of power.

However difficult this uplift will be to achieve. And it will be no easy task.


'After nearly 10 years of policing being plenty of politicians’ punchbag, it has been nice - whatever you think of Boris Johnson - to hear some positivity about The Job from someone in such a position of power.'


You could argue that the responsibility for rebuilding the police service now falls to new home secretary Priti Patel – an MP we are very familiar with as she is one of our local MPs for the Witham constituency.

While we welcome the appointment of the new home secretary, we hope she has more engagement with the National Police Federation than she has chosen to have with us in her local Essex branch.

It is a matter of record that she blocked our Twitter account some years ago – and refused to engage with us – for having the temerity to point out the folly and consequences of drastic cuts to policing.

She has publicly complained about their not being enough police officers to keep her constituency safe – whilst voting for the cuts that have caused this problem.

Cuts which her boss the prime minister vowed to reverse in his first day in office.

As such we need to be convinced the new home secretary shares the positive views stated by the new Prime Minister.

We hope Ms Patel picks up the more constructive relationship we had with her predecessor as home secretary Sajid Javid and, rather than accusing us of scaremongering and crying wolf, listens to police professionals and our feedback, as we strive for a better police service for the public we all serve.

An important and relatively obvious point to make is that now the seemingly pro-policing (his brother is a senior police officer as he likes to remind people) Sajid Javid is in charge of the purse strings, hopefully it becomes a lot easier to find the much needed money – in excess of £1Billion - for the extra 20,000 police officers his boss has promised.

To conclude, we will be getting in touch with the new home secretary and look forward to meeting her in Essex at her earliest convenience.

We’re upbeat and hope we can have a positive relationship going forward.

It’s good news that the government has finally realised that – when it comes to policing – cuts have had consequences.

See here PF’s look last year at the effects of funding cuts on the police. 

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