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Government urged to rethink police funding plan after spike in recorded crime

PUBLISHED: 11:52 06 February 2018 | UPDATED: 14:25 06 February 2018

Shadow Police Minister Louise Haigh.

Shadow Police Minister Louise Haigh.

PA Archive/PA Images

A shadow minister is urging the Government to rethink a "freeze" in police funding she claims will push the service beyond "breaking point".

Ahead of the vote in the House of Commons, Shadow Police Minister Louise Haigh has highlighted some of the crime figures for the region in a bid to stop the rubber-stamping of another year without increased funding from central coffers.

She said: “When the most recent crime figures were released, they revealed that recorded crime had risen at the fastest rate for an entire generation.

“In Suffolk overall crime is up 16%, while violent offences have risen 29%, including a shocking 87% rise in harassment and stalking.

“Meanwhile in Essex the pattern is also clear. Overall crime is up 11%, while violent offences have risen 16%, with robberies shooting up by 36%.

“Ask yourself, when was the last time you saw a bobby on the beat in your community? For many it was a very long time ago, last year two fifths of people said they never see officers on foot patrol, and the truth is our communities are exposed.

“So with our police at breaking point, what have the Tories chosen to do?

“Rather than give our police the funding they have asked for to fight soaring crime and keep us safe, the Tories chose instead to slash Home Office support to local forces by £100m in real terms over the next year.

“To put that into context, that money would pay for about 2,000 police officers nationwide.”

In December Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced an extra £450m for the police but it would be raised by adding an extra £12 to each household’s council tax bill.

Addressing MPs at the time, Policing Minister Nick Hurd said the money was a “comprehensive settlement that makes sure police have the resources they need”. The increase relies upon each police and crime commissioner applying to raise the precept.

Ms Haigh added: “To add insult to injury they expect hard-pressed local taxpayers to cover the cost of those real-terms cuts.

“Forces which have seen the biggest loss in officers will gain the least from this plan.”

She added some police chiefs had written to the Government opposing the funding plan saying it would “expose gaps in the protection of the public”.

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