Express & Star comment: Time to unite in fight against crime
The problems facing the country’s police forces over the past decade are plain to see.
Back in 2010, Tory efforts to make up for the care-free spending of the previous Labour administration meant a tightening of the purse strings, resulting in cuts to services including our police forces.
In the case of West Midlands Police, this has meant more than £170 million wiped from the budget and a reduction in officer numbers that has surged past the 2,000 mark.
It is no coincidence that over the same period crime has soared across the region, with violent crime in particular hitting levels not seen for decades.
Thankfully, the current government appears to have realised that the cuts have gone too far, with Boris Johnson making a pledge to boost police coffers his first major announcement as PM.
It is a welcome change of policy.
But the early indications are that Mr Johnson will pursue a broad brush approach to the issue of police resources, with funding boosted across the board.
The problem is, as Chief Constable Dave Thompson points out today in this newspaper, that we are not dealing with a level playing field.
He argues that high crime areas such as the West Midlands should be prioritised, having suffered the harshest cuts and the biggest rises in crime.
Mr Thompson certainly has a point. There is not a chief constable in the country who would turn down the offer of an increased budget, but the truth is that some need it far more than others.
As things stand, the West Midlands is set to see an extra 1,200 officers on the streets over the next three years.
This is a welcome boost, but still not enough to cover the number that have been lost. Mr Thompson should bear in mind that while the public understands the need for extra funding, it must result in a reduction in crime.
Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson has often used his position as a platform to criticise the policy of cuts – now it is time to unite in the fight against crime.
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