Paying the Bill

THE Government has been steadfast in its claim that failing to tackle the huge levels of public debt it inherited would be irresponsible. While this may be true, it is surely equally irresponsible to turn a blind eye to the consequences that these spending cuts will have on public services and on the country as a whole.

On the issue of police spending cuts, Ministers have insisted that frontline services should be protected and officers kept on the streets while forces look to make savings “in their bureaucracy and backroom functions”.

The coalition is right to demand efficiency in how our police forces spend public money and right that taxpayers want to see officers on the street. However, with Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) warning that cuts of 10 per cent in police spending will lead to a three per cent increase in crime, the Government must now accept the reality of the situation. This warning is not coming from a political organisation with an axe to grind but from independent experts and, while a three per cent rise may sound small, the Yorkshire Post reveals today this would mean 12,000 more victims of crime a year in our region alone by 2015.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The majority of police forces in Yorkshire are to face deeper cuts than the national average, even as the county faces deep spending cuts elsewhere and the abolition of its regional development agency. Across the region almost £200m will be cut from the region’s four police forces by the end of the Comprehensive Spending Review.

If the Government presses ahead with these police cuts then it is tacitly accepting the resulting rise in crime as a price worth paying in order to restore the nation’s finances. If this is the case it should have the courage to say so instead of failing to confront the result that crime is almost certain to rise.