To describe the Government’s twists and turns over the way our Police are funded as a shambles would be putting it charitably. That was the message from an emergency statement where the Police Minister was forced to apologise to the House of Commons today.
Confused? You should be. It would all be comical if it wasn’t so serious. But it is serious. Very serious. It is about nothing less than the Police’s ability to keep us safe in our homes and on the roads. People deserve better than this from their Government.
When the West Midland comes together, we can get results. That is the message from recent changes to the way the Government allocates funding for Policing across different parts of the country.
West Midland Police has already been hit hard by government cuts of over 20% in the last five years. On top of that, however, there were real fears that our region could be hit even harder in comparison to the rest of the country due to proposals for a new funding formula being considered by ministers. David Jamieson, the Police and Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands, warned that without change to the new formula, Birmingham and other local areas faced a ‘catastrophe’ with mass loss of officers.
West Midlands Police have announced a plan to close 28 police stations across the region. In and around the Northfield area, Kings Norton, Longbridge, Warstock and Bartley Green are scheduled to close.
Although nearby Bournville Lane will continue to be the Police headquarters for the area, these proposals mean that there will be no police stations in Northfield constituency itself by the end of 2017.
In the recent debate I held in Parliament on 8 September, I and other Labour MPs warned about the consequences of Governments cuts to Police funding. We are now seeing the reality of those warnings
This week Parliament returns from its summer break. One of the first things I will be doing in Westminster is leading a debate on funding cuts to West Midlands Police.
In the last five years West Midlands Police has received funding cuts twice that of other forces according to the independent National Audit Office. Whereas the West Midlands has been cut by nearly a quarter (23%), Surrey Police have had their funding reduced by 12% – that’s despite recorded violent crime having dropped in Surrey. Here in West Midlands we have seen a 10% rise.
Community leaders in Northfield have joined together to co-author a response to the tragic events last week (Friday 24th).
Read it here: Northfield community response – 20 April 2015