Derbyshire’s newly elected Police and Crime Commissioner has vowed to meet the Government head-on over its plans to impose sweeping cuts to the county’s policing budget.
Alan Charles, who was elected as Derbyshire’s first Commissioner last month, will join other Labour Commissioner colleagues across the country in calling for a radical rethink of the cost-saving strategy which has already resulted in the loss of thousands of frontline police officers across the country.
The Commissioner, speaking ahead of a meeting with Home Secretary Theresa May and other Commissioners on Monday (December 3), has pledged to fight the budget cuts faced by Derbyshire.
“Derbyshire has already endured painful losses in police numbers and any continued drive to realise further savings from the police budget, above those we already face, will leave us in a very vulnerable position in the future,” he said.
“Vast and relentless cuts of the scale we have seen over the past few years are eventually going to have a detrimental impact on performance and this will ultimately undermine the good work that has taken place to build confidence and trust in the Force and ensure residents living in the county feel safe.
“There are now almost 7,000 fewer frontline officers on the country’s streets – almost 150 fewer in this county alone. My priority is to keep the communities of Derbyshire safe which is why I believe it is vital Commissioners address these issues with the Home Secretary and make our opposition to these unacceptable cuts abundantly clear.”
Mr Charles said he and fellow Commissioners would be seeking assurances from the Government that the forthcoming consultation on the 2013/14 police budget would be a two-way conversation rather imposed reductions, saying the concerns of the electors should be paramount.
He also added that Labour Commissioners would be asking the Home Office for further clarity on its intentions to involve the private sector in policing and will be calling for the Government to consult with them over this vital issue for forces.
“There are real fears the involvement of the private sector will ultimately lead to further losses in police manpower and we will be seeking reassurances that Commissioners will be involved in any decisions which could affect capacity from an operational point of view,” he added.
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Posted on Saturday 1st December 2012