Police forces need proper funding

Alan Campbell MP
Alan Campbell MP

This week the House of Commons debated the annual police grant.

The background to policing and crime has changed significantly in recent years – and not for the better.

Northumbria Police has lost £136m in funding since 2010, with a reduction of some 942 officers.

That represents 23 per cent fewer officers over the same period that official figures show a 25 per cent increase in overall recorded crime.

As the Office For National Statistics says, crime is not a common experience for most people.

However, the statistics reflect just recorded crime, and we know that not all crimes are reported or recorded.

But the most recent figures go far beyond any changes in recording.

Burglary is up, vehicle-related crime is up, shoplifting is up and, mainly in London and the Metropolitan areas, knife crime and gun crime are up.

There have been falls in some IT-based crime, reminiscent of the way better security technology reduced car theft, but that fails to mask the overall increase.

This year’s police grant fails to rise to the challenge.

Police forces could receive an extra £270m – but that is not new money and will only happen if the precept – a local tax – goes up.

The increases in funding for new technology and counter terrorism are neither enough, nor are they likely to reach our region.

Police forces cannot drain their reserves further and still be prepared for emergencies.

Our police forces need proper funding.

The crime figures show we cannot wait.