Policing feared biggest loser of Spending Review cuts

Barnsley East MP, Michael Dugher.
Barnsley East MP, Michael Dugher.
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Labour MPs have said neighbourhood policing will disappear as jobs are axed to cope with the Chancellor's cuts

Michael Dugher, MP for Barnsley East, has slammed the Government for failing to protect front-line policing numbers ahead of today's Comprehensive Spending Review, as new figures show that South Yorkshire Police will need to axe 1,542 jobs before the end of the decade.

Sheffield Heeley MP, Louise Haigh

Sheffield Heeley MP, Louise Haigh

The figures, obtained by Mr Dugher in a recent Freedom of Information request to South Yorkshire Police, show that the force will have to reduce the number of officers by 495, support staff by 894 and Police Community Support Officers by 153, in order to meet savings imposed by central Government.

This mean that workforce numbers will have been reduced from 5583 to 3151, or 40 per cent, between 2010 and 2020.

Mr Dugher said: “With thousands of front-line police positions set to be axed in the coming years, neighbourhood policing seems to be vanishing under this Government.

“Just this month, police in Barnsley were unable to police road closures as usual at Remembrance Parades in my constituency and South Yorkshire Police have made it clear to me that it is becoming increasingly challenging to maintain core police functions as a result of central Government cuts.

“Many serious crimes are on the rise and risks to the public are increasing. The recent terrible terrorist attacks in Paris also demonstrate the need for a strong and capable police service at the community, regional and national level that can tackle the threats we face.”

Louise Haigh, who represents Sheffield Heeley shares Mr Dugher's concerns and said this lunchtime's spending announcement would be a dark day for policing in Yorkshire.

She worries cuts to to neighbourhood policing would limit the ability of the force to deal with demonstrations, and is not helpful when the force is attempting to work through various 'legacy issues', including the Hillsborough disaster and the Rotherham sexual abuse scandal.

She said: "The speculation is that there will be a 30% budget cut to South Yorkshire Police, which will finish off neighbourhood policing. Their reserves are wiped out so they will have nothing to rely on. It will be cuts to neighbourhood staff as there's no way they can cope with those cuts without cutting police officers."

Nationally, 17,000 police officers have been lost since 2010, and Labour are warning that cuts to neighbourhood policing will undermine the Police’s ability to support counter-terrorism efforts and to react to major emergencies.