With less than a fortnight to go before the Police and Crime Commissioner Election in Derbyshire on May 5th, Labour’s Candidate, Hardyal Dhindsa has warned that a Tory victory would mean more cuts to the police budget and the privatisation of police services.
‘Far from being the party of law and order, since coming into office, the Tories have attacked the police and jeopardised the fight against crime. In the last Parliament alone, they slashed central government funding for the police service and that meant the loss of over 18,000 officers and 5,000 community support officers.
The Tories promised to protect police funding this Parliament but instead they are cutting it again and police numbers will suffer. In Derbyshire as elsewhere, a Tory Commissioner will simply be a cheerleader for Government cuts but I will continue to fight against them – as I did as Deputy alongside our first Police and Crime Commissioner, Labour’s Alan Charles.
Alan and I warned the Tories in Derbyshire, as Labour did nationally, that cutting police budgets to such an extent would impact frontline policing – the Tory claim that frontline services could be left unaffected has already been exposed for the sham that it is.
Labour originally opposed creation of Police and Crime Commissioners because we thought the money needed would be better spent on frontline policing. But Labour Police and Crime Commissioners have worked demonstrably hard over the past four years to protect neighbourhood policing , to put victims at the heart of everything that they do and to ensure that the police are accountable to the people that they serve. In Derbyshire, as a result, police services have been consistently graded by HMC as being good or outstanding.
David Cameron and Theresa May like to boast that they have cut the police while crime fell. But what’s actually happening is that crime is not ‘falling’. It’s changing! Recording improvements by police show that sexual offences are far more prevalent that previously thought. Violent offences such as knife and gun crime are on the rise. Cyber-crime and radicalisation represent new and serious threats that the police must address.
Yet the Tories don’t have a proper plan to cut crime. They make it up as they go along, expecting a shrinking number of officers to investigate a growing number of serious, complex and evolving threats. You can’t have policing ‘on the cheap.’ Labour thinks that the Government should cut crime, not the police. If elected on May 5th to be Derbyshire’s next Police and Crime Commissioner, I pledge to everyone who lives and works here in city, town and village communities that I will protect the frontline and fight to ensure that the police are equipped with the resources they need to fight crime in the 21st century. Our safety is precious. Tory Governments and Tory Candidates can’t be entrusted with it.’