Theresa May, in her speech to the Conservative Party conference yesterday, claimed the Tories “will always be the party of law and order”, that her reforms had put “the equivalent of an extra 2,100 officers back onto the streets”, and “frontline policing is being protected”.
The facts, however, tell another story.
House of Commons analysis of Home Office figures, released last month, show nearly 6,800 frontline posts have been cut since the general election, with Labour pointing out 15,000 will be axed by the time of the next election.
As The Guardian reported:
Nearly 6,800 frontline police jobs have gone since the 2010 general election as a result of spending cuts, according to a House of Commons analysis of updated Home Office figures.
Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary (HMIC) predicted in July that 5,800 frontline jobs would be lost over the entire five-year parliament, and ministers have repeatedly urged police chiefs to make deeper cuts in their “middle and back office” staff to protect the national frontline.
The figures show there has been an average 6% reduction in frontline policing across England and Wales. But eight forces have lost over 10% of their of their frontline officers, including 16% in Warwickshire and 13% in Nottinghamshire. Only two out of the 43 forces have fulfilled ministerial hopes of using the 20% budget cuts to boost their frontlines through reorganisation.
She may not be as big on the rhetoric as Boris Johnson, but the home secretary is just as big on exaggeration and ignoring the facts as the Mayor of London, who, as Len Duvall AM explained yesterday on Left Foot Forward, has been cutting police in ever greater numbers:
Most glaringly, in Boris’s celebration of London’s Police Service, he failed to mention he has cut more than 1,700 police officers and 1,800 PCSOs in the past two years.
Police stations are closing across the capital and two London Borough police commanders have gone in the past three weeks. Safer Neighbourhood Teams have been run down and plans are underway to merge borough police forces.
Boris’s claim crime has fallen by 12% is wrong. Between 2008 and 2012 crime has fallen 5.6%, which is welcome but an example of a Mayor not being straight with Londoners.
We desperately need to protect police numbers as GBH, rape and muggings have all increased since 2008 in London.
The “party of law and order”, frontline policing “protected”… in the Met and nationwide, the cuts tell a different story.
• Promises, promises and Met Police cuts – Oct 8 2012