Liberal Democrats have announced they would boost investment in police forces across the country by £300m a year. This is in stark contrast to the Conservatives who have overseen devastating cuts to community policing. Theresa May as Home Secretary and now Prime Minister has cut policing budgets by over £2bn, eroding the fabric of community policing.
Under the Liberal Democrats, the Metropolitan Police Service would see a funding increase of £62.4 million a year. This could be used to restore a visible policing presence in the community and ensure the police have the training and tools to deal with the changing nature of crime.
Alain Desmier, Liberal Democrat candidate for Islington South and Finsbury commented:
“This investment in our police is absolutely vital. Under Theresa May – first as Home Secretary and now as Prime Minister, our police have had to deal with the most brutal of cuts. These are now cutting into the bone.
“Our police work tirelessly to keep us safe and this Government has completely betrayed them.
Liberal Democrat candidate for Islington North Keith Angus, added:
“Only the Liberal Democrats have a credible plan to reverse the increase in violent crime, boost community confidence and ensure the police have the resources they need to keep us safe.”
According to figures from the National Audit Office (NAO), from 2010/11 to 2015/16 central government grant to police and crime commissioners and their equivalents in London including specific grants and council tax freeze grants has reduced £2.2 billion in real terms. This represents a 22% real terms reduction. - http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-7279/CBP-7279.pdf
At 31 March 2016 total strength of the 43 police forces in England & Wales reached just over 124,000 FTE officers. This is the lowest number of police officers recorded under the current strength measure. This is not a pattern we see in Scotland where police numbers have seen year on year increases almost continuously since 1985.
In the PEEL report Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabularies warned that the neighbourhood policing model was under threat due to funding cuts. The report stated:
“Since 2015, there has been a substantial drop in the proportion of people who say they have seen the police, on foot or in a police car, regularly, in their area. Our research shows that, now, fewer than one in five people feel there is a regular uniformed police presence in their area. Where neighbourhood teams exist, police officers are routinely taken away from their local areas to meet demands in other parts of the force area, leaving a reducing number of PCSOs as the mainstay of community teams.” - https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmic/wp-content/uploads/state-of-policing-2016.pdf