The Brussels Diary: Police Budgets and Press Stories Edition
Even when David Cameron and his cabinet are on the right lines they still get it wrong. That and more in a busy week...
Police Budgets and Press Stories
On Monday morning I was once again sitting in the British Consulate armed with forms and photos to prove my existence in order to obtain the necessities for entering the UK.
I have not owned a television since living with my Father before university and so have a wide-eyed, childish fixation on the moving screen when now and then I meet one, including the large screen showing BBC news on that Monday.
Among reports of Dr Liam Fox’s fine speech, supported by the Taxpayers Alliance, was mention of a report published by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary: “Policing in Austerity: One Year on”, assessing the impact of 20 percent funding cuts to police forces.
I sighed, “austerity”? Pah! Spending is rising at a dramatic rate. But the results of this report were actually rather concerning and it is the belief of both myself and my Party that any budget cuts to take place should not happen in the police or the army.
The army cuts announced this week are a disgrace, an absolute total disgrace. How this government can treat servicemen and women this way is entirely beyond me. Cruel, unnecessary, demeaning and a complete affront to respect, humanity and history – but little the Coalition does anymore commands the mandate of its electorate and few terrible decisions they make surprise.
The report warns that across England and Wales there will be nearly 6,000 fewer police officers on the front line by 2015 and Lincolnshire, part of the East Midlands represented by Roger, will be one of the hardest hit forces. Lincolnshire is not only one of the geographically largest forces in the UK but one of the lowest funded, spending an average £171 per head of population compared to the national average of £206.
They have recently axed 610 posts to meet savings targets and have shown the sort of initiative rarely seen in the public sector by making a deal with G4S to transfer back office staff to that company.
Part of my job is to notice stories like this, discuss them with Roger, get a decent comment from him and any other relevant bodies, then write a press release and send it out to either local or national press depending on the issue. There are two aspects to this story that were of note – 1) it’s happening in Roger’s patch and 2) we have close connections to the East Mids NFU who are rightly concerned about rural policing.
Crime in rural areas is on the rise and yet it is inner cities that receive the higher funding and greater attention; I spoke to a chap at the NFU who gave me a few lines on their concerns about the rise in machinery theft and illegal hare-coursing, then sent out a press release noting his and Roger’s comments to our local press. A letter from Roger on the subject also made it into This is Lincolnshire.
I am all for austerity, I would make sweeping cuts to public spending. I would set alight to the bonfire of red tape and regulation that hinders small businesses and abolish employers’ national insurance – a tax on jobs - to promote growth.
“Budget cuts”, as a phrase, gives me a warm feeling and “austerity” is long overdue. But please, Cameron, choose your areas and stop targeting the only departments that are actually within the proper sphere of a government – law and order, and defence.
This is all for this week, as I have another speech to write before tomorrow and need to get to London in time for the Young Independence extravaganza tonight. Thank you for reading and I promise that next week – more politics, fewer parties!
Alexandra Swann lives and works in Brussels as a Parliamentary Assistant for a UKIP MEP. She is an active member of UKIP and works for the European Parliament solely to ensure its inevitable demise. Alexandra tweets at @alexandralswann
Read more on: Alexandra Swann, Police cuts, police force, should police funding be cut?, defence cuts, defence spending, Brussels, Roger Helmer, Roger Helmer MEP, Young Independence UKIP, Young Independence Summer Ball, home office, Surrey Police, Surrey, UKIP, dr. liam fox, Lincolnshire police, East Midlands NFU, This is Lincolnshire, and austerity measures
- NY Democrat pleads with Republican not to share document proposing confiscation of guns
- Sunday Times blood libel cartoon, on Holocaust Memorial Day no less
- Oregon woman raped after police refuse to send out response unit
- Palestinian jailed for Facebook like
- 'Muslim Patrol' vigilantes attempt to control London streets
We are wholly dependent on the kindness of our readers for our continued work. We thank you in advance for any support you can offer.