Express & Star comment: PCC row masks problems with police
The politicisation of this country’s police forces in recent years has arguably caused more problems than it has solved.
Police and crime commissioners were brought in to hold our forces to account for the decisions senior officers make with public money.
Many would argue that in respect of this particular aim, they have done a decent job overall.
However, as Government cuts to force budgets that started in 2010 have gone on... and on... and on, the role of commissioner has increasingly revolved around questioning ministerial decisions over funding.
As yet, this policy has not resulted in the increased resources that either the police nor the majority of the public have demanded.
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What it apparently has done, is create divisions between commissioners that seem to be based strictly along party lines.
The current row between West Midlands Labour PCC David Jamieson and his Conservative counterpart in West Mercia, John Campion, is a case in point.
Mr Jamieson wants more funding for his force, which he says has lost more than 2,000 officers and £175 million in the last eight years.
Meanwhile, Mr Campion wants a fairer funding deal for rural police, arguing that the service his force provides is not sustainable without a bigger slice of the pie.
The reality is that both commissioners want the same thing: more resources to allow their officers to protect the public.
This type of squabble is partly borne out of frustration, but it does nothing to solve the mounting problems that any of the forces in England and Wales are currently facing.
And in today’s politics, the Government’s obsession with Brexit means that few other policy areas are afforded anywhere near the attention they deserve.
Yesterday saw commissioners and chief constables up and down the country eagerly awaiting news of the latest funding settlement – only to find that the announcement had been pushed back due to the Commons debate on Brexit. It is a desperate state of affairs.
The amount of noise is deafening, and while the rows rage on, people are getting killed on our streets and crime is on a seemingly ever upward curve.
This dire situation will never improve until our police forces are given the resources the deserve.