Time to invest in our police force

Northumbria Police North Tyneside HQ, Middle Engine Lane, Wallsend
Northumbria Police North Tyneside HQ, Middle Engine Lane, Wallsend

Prime Minister Theresa May and her government continue to confuse the public over the amount of funding available to forces across the country to properly police our streets.

Under the Tories there are no fewer than 20,000 officers less than there were eight years ago.

Only last week my colleague Louise Haigh wrote to the UK Statistics Authority complaining about statements by the PM claiming that her government is putting additional funding into policing.

The truth is that across the country police forces are facing real-term reductions in funding, which means local taxpayers are having to pick up the pieces.

Time and again senior officers are warning that the safety of communities is being put at risk with hard-pressed forces continually asking for more resources to do their job properly.

We have already seen some of the impacts the cuts in funding are having through the closure of front-desk services to the public at police stations in the Northumbria Force area. Only one station in Sunderland can now be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by the public.

In the Labour Party we believe this is yet another downgrading of an important area of the service the police provide and is a further example of the difficult decisions chief constables and their colleagues are having to make to balance their books because funding is not being made available from central government.

Policing our streets so we can all feel safe is perhaps something we have all become too readily accustomed to expect as a right, but like the rest of the public sector, the police need the resources and manpower to do their job properly at a time when there are worrying rising trends in major crimes and terrorism.

Labour has committed to investing in 10,000 more officers patrolling our neighbourhoods, which we think is the minimum needed to keep our communities safe.