Government MPs vote to cut North Yorkshire Police Budget
Today I intervened in the House of Commons debate to set government grants to the police. Nick Herbert, the Minister for Policing, claimed that crime is coming down, but I pointed out that government figures show this is not the case in York. I read out figures given to me by the Government, which show that the total number of crimes in York is rising.
Total crime recorded by the police in York in the last year of the previous Labour Government was 14,480 offences, but this figure rose to 15,199 in 2010-11, the first year of the Coalition Government.
Despite this rise in crime, the Government is cutting its grant to North Yorkshire Police for 2012/13 by more than £5 million and North Yorkshire Police Force are likely to have 1,411 Police Officers in 2012/13, falling to 1,300 by 2015/16. These figures were reported in today’s York Press.
The number of Police Officers in North Yorkshire increased under the Labour Government from 1,367 in 1997 to 1,509 by 31 August 2010. This was an increase of 142. I also intervened during the speech by Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper, to argue that there is a strong relationship between the size of police forces and national crime rates by making the point that additional police officers under the Labour Government gave the police the resources they needed to get crime to come down in North Yorkshire; whereas during the last Conservative Government, when North Yorkshire received no increase in the number of Police Officers, crime in the county almost trebled.
This argument is further supported by figures published by the Home Office on 26 January 2012 which show that under the Coalition Government, rising crime figures nationally have been matched by a fall in police numbers to their lowest for a decade, including the loss of 54 from North Yorkshire since March 2010. There are now 8,000 fewer officers on UK streets, at a time when personal crime, which includes theft and violence, has gone up by a startling 11 per cent. My interventions in today’s debate can be read here.
I am concerned that the Government is cutting the number of Police Officers in North Yorkshire at a time when crime is rising in York. The Government’s cuts will seriously undermine the ability of police to counter the increase in crime in York since the Coalition came to power. There is a real danger that crime will continue to spiral upwards, as it did last time the Conservatives were in power. Every extra crime means another victim who is left counting the cost.
I voted against the Government’s cuts to Police Grants, but they were carried by Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs who voted through the worst funding settlement for the police in North Yorkshire in decades.