The Ham & High has this week published the below letter on the all-time record increase in police funding for the coming financial year:
Last week’s Ham & High featured our Labour London Assembly member Andrew Dismore and Labour’s shadow home secretary Diane Abbott attacking rises to police pay and the police’s tactics of tackling moped muggers respectively.
These two stories show Labour are increasingly tough on crime-fighters and tough on the solutions to crime.
While I was baffled by both stances, I was particularly concerned by Dismore’s misrepresentation of police funding.
Since October, the government has announced increases of available police funding by £780 million a year. That increase – a rise of over six per cent and almost three times inflation – is on top of the £468m extra (a four per cent rise) in the last year recorded by the Office for National Statistics.
So while it’s true that funding rose more slowly while the government was clearing Labour’s deficit, Dismore’s talking points are now well out of date.
Just this coming year’s increase is enough to fund the pay and pension contribution increase for every officer in the country and have enough left over to hire 4,000 more constables, too. If that extra money is allocated between police forces in proportion to current funding, that’d be 1,000 more police for London.
That is – however – only if elected police and crime commissioners like Sadiq Khan, who are responsible for policing in their areas, choose to do so. Sadiq Khan may choose not to fund new officers, but that is his choice, not the government’s, which is giving him and other PCCs the funding to do it.
I’m pleased that the number of officers joining the police nationally is at a 10-year high. More well-paid police on the front line is exactly the solution we need.
It’s also the solution we’ve proposed in Camden, where Camden Conservatives have proposed hiring new officers through the Met’s “buy one, get one free” match-funding scheme for the last eight years: each time, voted down by Camden’s Labour administration.
Police funding is increasing at its fastest rate in over 10 years and it is important to have a real conversation about what to spend it on – because there are competing priorities.
However, opportunistically attacking an announcement to pay police officers more for party-political ends is not what a good public servant does.
For more about my campaign to keep our streets safe, click here.