Law and order: MP launches campaign against police cuts

THE Shadow Home Secretary launched a campaign against police yesterday cutbacks saying they risked undermining the battle against crime.

Yvette Cooper, MP for Normanton, Pontefract & Castleford, said: "The cuts to the police by this Tory-led Government are not only unfair but counterproductive.

''The government are pulling the rug from under the police and putting them in an impossible position by imposing 20 per cent cuts most of which will hit this year and next.

"In West Yorkshire it has already been announced that 500 police officers and nearly 1,000 police support staff will have to go, this at time when we need to be supporting the police in the difficult job that they do.

"We dont want to turn the clock back and throw away the progress we have made in communities across West Yorkshire in tackling crime and anti-social behaviour, total recorded crime came down by 39 per cent in our region since 2003 and we cannot and should not make cuts that make it more difficult for police officers to build on this success.

"That is why Labour campaigners from across West Yorkshire have gathered in Wakefield today to launch a national campaign to register our opposition to these cuts and pressure the government to think again. Everyone can get involved by contacting their Labour MP, councillor or by signing our petition on the Labour Party website. We need to stop these cuts and make sure that the government listen to the needs and wants of local communities."

She was joined in Wakefield by a high-powered team of supporters including her husband, Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls and several MPs.

Policing and Criminal Justice Minister Nick Herbert said: "It's not surprising that many forces have suspended recruitment after the economic downturn, and some had stopped recruiting officers before the last government left office.

"Having reached record numbers in the police workforce, forces can and must make savings in their back and middle offices, prioritising the frontline and prioritising visible policing.

"Despite a period of rapid expansion, HMIC found that only 11 per cent of officers are visible and available to the public. This Government is cutting bureaucracy so that the police are crime fighters not form writers."