If policing budgets stay the same, yet costs rise. Effectively, this is a real-terms cut...
Since 2010, police funding in real terms is down 20%. As funding has fallen, so have numbers of police officers.
The hard work and determination of the police force against the backdrop of these cuts should be celebrated. But they are stretched thin. The police force is not what it once was. Cuts to funding are drastically hampering their ability to protect both people and communities.
An increase in funding and support is absolutely vital. An injection of at least £300m to services in England and Wales is paramount. This will ease short-term needs, and give the force the leg up it so badly needs.
Going forward, a new strategy must be put in place. A plan to truly assess what resources the police force need, and how to effectively implement them long-term. The most thorough way to do this is to conduct the first Royal Commission into policing since 1962.
The police need to be able to deliver a service to the public that is fit for purpose. We need to stop cutting, and start investing. The Commission will create a framework for future policing, and lay the groundwork for generations to come.
According to ukcrimestats, violent crime was up by 57% in Avon and Somerset between 2015 and 2017. Overall crime is up by 18% while public order offences have risen by a staggering 104%.
Cuts are reducing the police presence on our streets. The importance of a visual deterrent should not be underestimated. The tradition of police officers walking their beat is being lost. If you have less officers and more crime, the allocation of resources is a constant daily challenge.
The lack of a public facing police station in Bath worsens the problem locally. The One Stop Shop on Manvers Street has had its opening hours slashed by 52%. A city of Bath’s size should have a police station. It is an insult that it doesn’t. There is a petition calling for its return. Please sign here if you agree: https://www.werahobhouse.co.uk/proper_police_station
Wera said: “A new Royal Commission is an excellent idea. It creates an opportunity to really analyse how the police can operate most effectively. Crime is rising. In Bath, we must have a public facing police station so people can feel safer. It is an outrage that we don’t have one.”