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Verbal lashing for Government from Police & Crime Commissioner

Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner Keith Hunter (pictured) has launched a hard-hitting attack on the Government for what he sees as its unwillingness to provide more money to ensure effective policing.

It was a straight rebuke to Home Secretary Amber Rudd who, when speaking to the annual conference of police chiefs and  police and crime commissioners in London, said police forces which said they needed more resources to stem rising crime could still make efficiency savings and were sitting on reserves of £1.6bn.

In a statement issued afterwards, Mr Hunter said: “The Government has effectively put its fingers in its ears and is merrily singing ‘la la la’ while communities are crying out for help.”

He said the National Police Chiefs Council and the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners had submitted to the Home Office a very detailed case outlining the real growth required in police funding to deal with the “additional threats, demands and complexities of the current policing challenge.”

He went on: “I doubt, however, the willingness of the Government to change their stance on driving down the money they provide for local forces so I held out little hope for the Home Secretary’s speech. Unfortunately she failed to meet even my very limited expectations. In the light of a national 13 per cent increase in recorded crime, adding work to overstretched forces, she relies upon a survey of people’s experiences of crime which indicates a reduction in their exposure to crime, to argue against there being a case for more money.

“She completely ignored the fact that crime accounts for only around 20 per cent of the demand on policing and that the growing complexity and seriousness of crimes being committed requires more resources. Every community I speak to is telling me general lawlessness is growing and they want more police officers and PCSOs. Chief Officers across the country highlight how the police are filling gaps for other services especially around mental health issues, yet the Home Secretary’s response was to tell Police and Crime Commissioners to stop publicly asking for more money and concentrate on reducing crime.”

Mr Hunter said he would wait and see what the Budget brought, but no additional central Government funding going into local forces would be ignoring both the expert evidence and the wishes of the community.

“Locally I am working with the Chief Constable to ensure our available funds are concentrated on providing additional officers and building the partnerships that can deliver improved community safety. This will improve our ability to deliver in the short term but I want our communities to receive an even better and more responsive and sustainable service. That requires Government money and I urge everyone to make their views known to their MPs.”