Northumbria Police’s Chief Constable and Police & Crime Commissioner have joined the growing number of voices calling on the Home Secretary to stop the cuts to police funding.
Chief Constable Steve Ashman said: “Events in Paris are a stark reminder of the reliance that our communities place on police officers for safety and the need for officers to share intelligence that they may pick up in the course of their day-to-day policing”.
Following the devastating attacks in Paris, police chiefs in the Northumbria force area have urged the Government to think again when it comes to future reductions of police budgets. Later this month, the Chancellor, George Osborne, will announce his Comprehensive Spending Review, which could seriously impact how Northumbria Police delivers neighbourhood policing.
Police & Crime Commissioner Vera Baird said: “As our thoughts are with Paris, we must reflect on how our own force would be able to cope with such an incident. If we have further cuts to our budget, this will impact on neighbourhood policing – the officers who are our eyes and ears in the community.”
The Home Secretary, Theresa May, yesterday confirmed that new funding would be available for an extra 1,900 security and intelligence officers at MI5, MI6 and GCHQ – an increase of 15 per cent.
Chief Constable Ashman added: “We appreciate the need for extra intelligence, but the Government has a duty to manage the threat of terrorism in remote areas that have urban concentrations.”
Ms Baird added: “Theresa May needs to look at how she can effectively support police forces in England and Wales. The French have taken the decision to increase their number of police officers by 5,000, The Home Secretary has presided over the loss of 17,000 police officers in England and Wales. We need to learn lessons from the devastating attack on Paris and ensure we have police officers in our communities.”
The two firmly believe that neighbourhood policing is the eyes and ears of counter-terrorism.