Diane Abbott MP, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, responding to the publication of the Financial sustainability of police forces in England and Wales by the Committee of Public Accounts, said “The report presents a damning picture of Government underfunding and mismanagement of the police force. Police chiefs report communities feeling less safe, which comes as little surprise with nearly 50,000 fewer staff than in 2010 at a time when reported crime is rising. Neighbourhood policing has borne the brunt of Tory policy, and officers are increasingly required to tackle the effects of social problems which have been deepened by Tory cuts in other budgets, especially local authorities.
“This report from the Public Accounts Committee is just the latest in a string of highly critical independent reports on the effects of Government cuts, from the Home Affairs Select Committee, the National Audit Office and others. There is too an emerging consensus that Ministers are unaware of the effect of their own policies, and have made little effort to examine local conditions. Instead, the Government as a whole is simply in denial that their cuts to policing have consequences.
“Austerity in policing continues, with the Budget offering nothing new except a dubious claim to be increasing funding for counter-terrorism. Police forces are reaching a crisis point and the Government should end this reckless policy.
“Labour has pledged to provide 10,000 extra officers to begin to reverse the crisis in policing.”