Government taking “huge gamble” over police cuts, says MP

Jo Cox MP
Jo Cox MP

An MP has accused the government of “taking a huge gamble with public safety” over planned cuts to the police force.

Batley and Spen MP Jo Cox is backing a national campaign to prevent further reductions to the service and supported efforts in Parliament last week to stop them from going ahead.

She has warned that cuts will lead to a further, drastic drop in police numbers.

“I share the concerns of West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner that more cuts will mean the Government is taking a huge gamble with public safety,” she said.

“By next March West Yorkshire will have 1,275 fewer police officers than we did in 2010 – a reduction of 22 per cent.

“With violent crime increasing by around 50 per cent it will be hard to maintain that there is no link with the fall in the number of bobbies on the beat.”

During the debate in Parliament, Mrs Cox noted that only 20 per cent of a police officer’s job these days relates to recorded crime, while 80 per cent relates to safeguarding and vulnerability.

She is worried that this is something the Home Office does not quantify and therefore has a skewed view of the realities on the frontline.

“There are also concerns about what these cuts will mean for Neighbourhood Policing Teams, which have been successful and popular,” said Mrs Cox.

“We will see all the proactive police work that’s been done over the last 20 years vanish and only enough resources for a reactive service.

“We will also see cuts to community safety budgets and the likelihood of a rise in the blight of anti-social behaviour and low level crime.”

Mrs Cox holds regular meetings with local forces as well as the Police and Crime Commissioner.