MP ‘deriding staff’ over bobbies on the beat claim says policing chief David Jamieson
An MP has been accused of 'deriding' the work of specialist police officers by branding them 'back office staff'.
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) David Jamieson has hit back at Tory MP Eddie Hughes, who has called for more bobbies on the beat.
Mr Hughes said it was 'crazy' that 78 frontline WMP officers were being axed over the next 12 months, while £10 million was being spent on 'office staff'.
But Labour PCC Mr Jamieson today hailed the work of the force's 3,000 staff, describing their roles as 'extremely valuable'.
He has invited Walsall North MP Mr Hughes to 'come and see the back office he has criticised so publicly', including meeting child abuse investigators, 999 call handlers and forensics experts.
Mr Jamieson said: "The 3,000 staff working for West Midlands Police, who carry out extremely valuable roles keeping us safe will be incensed with these Eddie Hughes comments.
"By calling specialist police staff ‘back office’ Eddie Hughes is deriding the work of people dealing with life and death situations on 999 calls, staff investigating child abuse and specialists keeping us safe from online crime.
"Specialist staff free up and support warranted police officers to catch criminals.
"I'm shocked that the Eddie wants more officers to be stuck behind desks."
The PCC says WMP has lost £145m in Government funding since 2010. He is raising council tax by £12-a-year and has announced the closures of 24 police bases in a bid to boost force coffers.
Mr Hughes raised the issue of police officer numbers in Prime Minister's Questions last month. He called on Theresa May to urge Mr Jamieson to put more officers on the streets of the West Midlands.
He said he had written straight back to Mr Jamieson explaining that he had visited Bloxwich Police Station twice in February to meet with staff.
"On my second visit the staff I spoke to were deeply concerned about his plans for the future of the police estate, particularly a proposal to move all response officers from Bloxwich to Wolverhampton," Mr Hughes said.
"He should be engaging with his staff rather than sending me letters telling me what I should be doing. At the moment his staff seem to be raising concerns with me about how the police and crime commissioner is going to be handling the deployment of officers.
"That is a more pressing concern, not whether I use a term to describe non-front line officers that he doesn't like."