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Shropshire Star comment: Just accept what chiefs have to say

By Pete Madeley | Opinions | Published:

The most damning aspect of the latest Home Office review into the state of policing is not the findings, which show overstretched forces manned by officers pushed beyond their limits.

It is the fact that no one is shocked by the scale of the challenges revealed.

Chief constables and crime commissioners have been warning for years that the consequences of stripping police resources to the bone would be dire. Now we are simply seeing the logical results of almost a decade’s worth of budget cuts.

The public is rightly exasperated by continually rising crime rates. It seems incredible that police forces are barely equipped to do the job that is expected of them.

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Tragically, we have become accustomed to police chiefs telling us that their forces are powerless to deal with crime due to low officer numbers.

What differs with this latest report, is that the Home Office finally seems to be listening to what is clearly a desperate cry for help from senior officers.

On a daily basis they see the strain that our boys and girls in blue are being placed under.

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They are expected to police increasingly violent streets and deal with more and more complex crimes, while in the majority of force areas, budgets continue to be slashed.

In Sajid Javid, our forces appear to have a willing ear in the Home Office who has the best interests of the police at heart.

Since he was appointed, there has been new money to tackle violent crime, although the latest funding settlement was largely reliant on crime commissioners raising council tax.

However, this is not a crisis that can be solved with a sticking plaster.

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A full, independent review is needed in order to effectively map out the future of policing in this country.

It is not enough for Jeremy Hunt to ruminate over the fact that police cuts may have gone too far, or for Boris Johnson to promise an increase in officer numbers.

While more resources are required, this is not a problem that can be solved by simply throwing money at it.

Our next Prime Minister needs to listen to the country’s police chiefs, and make sure our forces are properly prepared to tackle crime.

Pete Madeley

By Pete Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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