This blog is mainly about the governance and future of policing and crime services. (Police & Crime Commissioners feature quite a lot.) But there are also posts about the wider justice system. And because I am town councillor and political activist, local & national issues are covered a little, as well.

Monday, January 5, 2015

A bright new year: demand is down, cuts are up

So here we are: a bright new year dawns. It is 2015 and the new century still feels fresh. As all years, this one will be momentous: history will be made (again). Babies will be born and people will die. Despite the terrible circumstances for many in the world, we are living in mostly peaceful times when the numbers of combatants & civilians dying as a result of war are lower than ever.

It may well not feel like that to you. I certainly struggle to believe it when I am assaulted by images and stories of horrific conflict on what seems to be a daily basis.

And at a national level, it does appear that visible crime (as opposed to the often unreported 'virtual' crime) is on the way down. Fewer cars are being stolen. Less burglary is happening etc.

All this has led to Sir (as he now is) Tom Winsor declaring"There will inevitably be a time where [police forces] can't take any more but let us remember that measured crime has fallen dramatically - but so have the demands made on the police"


I would expect such an assertion of a senior Conservative politician, but not from one of the most senior civil servants in UK policing. To equate demand on the police service with rates of crime is so far off the mark, I struggle to grasp exactly what Sir Tom has been knighted for...

This graphic account of an ordinary episode in the life of one police officer testifies: the threats & demands are still out there. And to quote Emma Williams from her excellent blog:
Anyone who has an interest in policing can see how the demand on policing has not reduced. It has widened. The net to catch the fall out of these cuts is shrinking and as a result, the remit of the police has grown. Issues that may have before been dealt with by social service functions, youth offending teams and/or diversion programmes now fall into the shrinking net which is fast becoming the catch all of ‘the police’.
(I commend the whole of both blogs to you - follow Emma Williams & Mountain_Ninja on twiiter)

So as we run up to the 2015 election where the economy will loom large as a key political issue, as will immigration and the NHS... don't forget about policing. Community safety and the fear of crime remain some of the most important issues for many people whose lives are blighted & stumped by anti-social behaviour & violence around the corner.

So when you come to cast your vote next May, please consider this: are you voting for a party that has the policies & plans for tackling all forms of crime, violence disturbance that you think our society needs?

Or will you vote for an administration that will tell you not to worry your pretty head: demand is going down and so you don't need to fear more cuts in policing...???

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