Conor McGinn MP, today spoke in a Labour-led debate in Parliament aimed at halting government plans to cut police budgets by up to 25%, and backed a campaign launched by Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham to keep bobbies on the beat and protect communities.
Labour has warned that while efficiency savings below 10 per cent can be achieved, any cuts in double figures will lead hundreds more local police officers to be axed.
Conor warned of the implications further cuts would have upon the ability of Merseyside police force to deal with diverse challenges faced across the region.
As part of the campaign Labour have also given support to a national petition sponsored by the former Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, crossbench peer Lord John Stevens. The petition calls on Ministers to “drop plans for drastic cuts” and warns of the “end of neighbourhood policing”.
The Merseyside force lost 722 police officers and 115 Police Community Support Officers (PSCOs) between 2010 and 2015, yet violent crime has risen 48% in the region.
Commenting Conor 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.
“Merseyside Police has suffered unprecedented cuts under this Tory Government which has had a real impact on the frontline.
“With forces already stretched, new figures released that show Merseyside could lose a further 700 police officers if budgets are cut by 25%, are seriously worrying. This would have damaging consequences for policing and public safety in St Helens and across Merseyside.
“I urge as many people as possible to sign Lord Stevens’s petition – 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, said:
“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% and 40% 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.”
Lord John Stevens was Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police for five years. The petition can be signed here: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/111560