Calling for PM to come to area

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Public spending cuts mean the loss of 200 police and 230 police staff over the coming three years. This is on top of 600 officers lost since 2010.

The Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird recently briefed me on how they have tried to blunt central government cuts.

“Neighbourhood police officers, who are very popular, have been moved from costly police stations into sports centres and fire stations.

Forest Hall police station has been successfully moved to the White Swan Centre in Killingworth town centre. No one has complained.

Vera and the Chief Constable rightly insist that police stations are only closed when local people have got used to the alternative base.

They are saving public money. The number of area commands has been halved. This affects back room services rather than frontline policing.

The Police Authority has kept the council tax low because North Tyneside is poor.

But this means that policing is more dependent than richer areas on funding from central government. They have taken reasonable action but the government is planning a further squeeze, which could mean unacceptable cuts in the thin blue frontline.

I am asking the PM to come to North Tyneside and see all this for himself in the hope that he will realise that local policing can only be pushed so far.