Police

West Sussex County Times article

On Thursday I sat in the Commons Chamber for the Home Secretary's statement on policing. 

I couldn't decide whether I wanted to shout out "we've heard it all before", or "stop, thief!" I've lost count of the number of times that the Government has promised to cut red tape in policing. I think it must be that time of the year when they announce it again.

This time, however, in line with Gordon Brown's general strategy of grand larceny of Conservative proposals, a few of our ideas were pilfered and announced as Government policy.

A year ago, I published a 250-page report calling for government policing targets to be slashed and the ludicrous foot-long form which officers have to complete every time they stop someone to be scrapped.

Someone was listening. At last it seems that the stop form will go - eventually - although the ‘stop and search' form will live on.

I went considerably further than the Home Secretary, calling for locally elected police commissioners to replace unelected police authorities - because I believe that police forces should be accountable to local communities.

Jacqui Smith was silent on this, promising a Green Paper in the Spring. We'll all look forward to that, along with the 52 other policy reviews already announced by Gordon Brown.

The problem is that promises are made but not kept. Sussex will now receive 171 fewer Police Community Support Officers than the Government pledged at the election.

And this week it was revealed that the number of Sussex police officers has fallen by 54 in a year - the fifth largest decline of any force in England and Wales. The force gets a raw deal in every funding settlement.

Local people consistently say one thing: let's have a return to the bobby in every village. Scrapping the odd form is a belated start - but it's not enough.


Document type

Articles

Published

7 February 2008

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