The BBC has the story on its web site – see link above
It’s probably a major indication of how the modern Conservative Party has lost its way as it turned the screw on Police funding in recent times. Long gone is the ‘party of law and order’ tag which it once so prized.
But as crime has continued to rise and the police have become more and more stretched it was only a matter of time before the Government’s arm was going to be twisted to find more money for policing. Seeing the Police being cut back so much must have been hurting the Tory rank and file and I guess they have said enough is enough – the funding tap needs to be turned on again.
But in reality what the Government is doing is telling Police an Crime Commissioners to put up your Council tax to pay for the extra funding. It looks like an average of £12 per year per household to me but frankly I am more than happy to cough up.
I have fought for policing funding throughout my time in politics and recall a big push to get policing numbers back up during the early years of the Blair Government when the outgoing Tories had pushed numbers down and Labour were slow to react when taking power.
I found this graphic recently*. It shows how policing numbers have gone up and down from 1977 to 2016 – It’s from the Home Office so should be reliable information:-
The interesting dates to look at are where General Elections and economic recessions fall and what follows them in terms of ups and downs in policing numbers.
1975 Lab Gov – numbers going down then up
UK Economic Recession – mid 1970’s
1979 Con Gov – numbers going up
UK Economic Recession – early 1980’s
1983 Con Gov – numbers going slightly down then up
1987 Con Gov – numbers going up
UK Economic Recession – early 1990’s
1992 Con Gov – numbers steady
1997 Lab Gov – numbers going down but then started to go up
2001 Lab Gov – numbers going up
2005 Lab Gov – numbers going up
Great Recession hits in 2008
2010 Coalition Gov – numbers going down
2015 Con Gov – numbers going down
Despite all the ups and downs there were clearly more full time equivalent policeman and women in 2016 (@121,000) than there were in 1977 (@104,000) when the graph starts. The peak seems to have been @141,000 in 2010.
Of course the other interesting piece of news is that a Tory Government is again increasing taxes. They can’t bring themselves to increase national taxation so like with extra funding for social care last year (and indeed this year) it is being put on local taxation/Council tax.
*Note:- The graph above is about overall national policing figures, there will be differences between individual police force numbers that this graph does not accommodate.
With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting.
Click on the graphic to enlarge it.