Hundreds more local police officers in Sussex are set to be axed, Labour will say today as it launches a campaign to keep bobbies on the beat and protect communities.
Later today, Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham will force a Commons vote aimed at halting Government plans to cut Police budgets by up to 25 per cent over the next five years. Labour believes any cuts in double figures will have damaging consequences for policing and public safety.
A national petition sponsored by the former Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, crossbench peer Lord John Stevens, aims to build cross-party and cross-community support for the campaign. The country’s former most senior police officer calls on ministers to ‘drop plans for drastic cuts’, ‘listen to the public and police officers’ and also warns of the ‘end of neighbourhood policing.’
Labour’s campaign aims to get people to sign the petition before George Osborne stands up to give his Spending Review later this month.
The Sussex force lost 403 police officers and 52 Police Community Support Officers (PSCOs) between 2010 and 2015. Labour believes that while efficiency savings below 10 per cent can be achieved, a Police budget cut in double figures puts the public at risk. New figures show that a cut of 25 per cent, which the Government talked about, could result in a further reduction of 400 officers in Sussex.
In the Sussex violent crime has already risen by forty percent while the force is having to deal with new threats like cybercrime and online fraud.
Peter Kyle MP said:
“If Ministers cut the Police on the scale proposed, they will be putting public safety at risk and will go down as the Government that took thousands of bobbies off the beat.
“I want as many people as possible in our area to sign this petition to protect the local police force and I’m calling on MPs from all parties to join this campaign too. The consequences of Tory cuts are already being felt – we cannot afford to lose even more officers.
Andy Burnham MP, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, said:
“If people had known the Tories planned to end neighbourhood policing as we have known it and to take bobbies off the beat, they wouldn’t have voted for it. With crime starting to rise, now is not the time to cut the police.”
On his petition, Lord John Stevens, says:
“We call on the Government to listen to the public and police officers, drop plans for drastic cuts and protect visible, locally-responsive neighbourhood policing.
“In the last five years, police forces across England and Wales have lost 12,000 front-line officers. Government plans to cut the Police by between 25 per cent and 40 per cent over the next five years could lead to the loss of over 20,000 more. Indeed, any budget cuts in double figures would spell the end of neighbourhood policing and put the public at risk.”