Opposition Day Debate - Policing

I spoke in the Opposition Day Debate on Policing raising particular concern with police numbers and violent crime in Enfield. 

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Joan Ryan (Enfield North) (Lab): Let me make a point that I made during last week’s business questions. In Enfield, 152 uniformed officers have been lost from our streets since 2010, yet there has been a 22% increase in violent crime in the past year alone. There has been an increase in all categories of violent crime, and I think there is a connection between those two things. I wonder what my right hon. Friend thinks, because the reply I received from the Leader of the House was less than satisfactory.

Andy Burnham: My right hon. Friend rightly says that there is evidence that violent crime—knife crime and sexual assault–is on the increase and that the Metropolitan police have seen some reductions, particularly in her community. The big worry is that if the Government proceed with the spending plans they set out at the Budget, thousands of police officers could be taken off the streets of this country, particularly in London, where the change would be most keenly felt. That should concern Members on both sides of the House.

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Mrs May, Home Secretary: The point I made is very simple. The police funding formula has been out for consultation for a while. We are listening to the representations and then decisions will be taken. He refers to the specific needs of certain parts of the Sussex police force area, Brighton and Hove being one of those. I take this opportunity to commend the work that Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne has been doing in relation to certain communities in Sussex and the very real attention that she has given to the sort of issues that the hon. Gentleman refers to.

Joan Ryan: Enfield communities value their police community support officers, particularly given the rise in violent crime and the need for uniformed officers on the streets to reassure people. The right hon. Lady will know that having had a £600 million cut in budget, the Met police are now expecting another £800 million cut in the spending review and are considering making the decision in December to axe all PCSOs. Does the Home Secretary place any value on police community support officers?

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Joan Ryan: Is it not the case that Police Scotland has had a year of chaos, with control centres closing, harming public safety? I understand that staff cuts have meant that some of the police who are working in the call centres are not trained in that work, which is leading to serious problems. Will the hon. Gentleman comment on that?

Richard Arkless, SNP: I have just said that my constituency has been unfortunate to lose one control room, but that the Scottish Government have responded positively by providing an extra £1.4 million to train 70 to 75 call centre staff.

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The full Hansard transcript on the debate can be found here.

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