Crime is something which many constituents raise with me. Living in the more rural parts of Lancashire we can feel more isolated from police presence but often need the support of police just as in urban areas. Where individual concerns have been raised I have taken up cases on behalf of constituents with Lancashire Constabulary but there is also a bigger picture to look at too.
I’ve been fighting, alongside other Lancashire Labour MPs and Clive Grunshaw our Police and Crime Commissioner in Lancashire, to protect our local police from the Government cuts. Back in November we forced the u-turn on extreme cuts of over 20% to the police budget, but now they are at it again, sneaking in further cuts to police forces, and expecting local people to pay more to make up the difference. Despite their phony police promise, our police force in Lancashire is set to see further funding cuts of £4.3 million with the Government expecting local people to pay more to make up for it.
In Parliament we forced a vote calling on the Government to honour their commitment to give police force budgets real-terms protection. The Government are breaking their promise to protect the police, but we will fight the police cuts and stand up for communities. That’s why Clive Grunshaw is prioritising neighbourhood policing – keeping ‘Bobbies on the beat’, reducing crime and keeping our Lancashire communities safe.
Since 2010 at least 12,000 frontline officers have already gone across the country. In Lancashire, the police force has lost 706 police officers in the past 5 years, a reduction of 19%. We have also lost 117 Police and Community Support Officers, down by 23%. Under this Government’s plans, thousands more will be axed - putting the safety of our local area at risk.
But the Government can no longer claim they cut police but cut crime. Crime is not falling, crime is changing and, when six million cyber and online crimes are included in the official crime statistics, crime will near double. With the most serious and violent crimes on the rise again, in Lancashire recorded violent crime has increased by 10%, and sexual assault has gone up by 22%, this is the worst possible time to cut the police, but that is what the Government is doing.
By failing to protect the police, the Government are putting the country’s security at risk and threatening community safety.