The coalition government are again making muddled decisions when it comes to the recent disorder by failing to take account of the impact of the cuts on essential services. David Cameron rejected Labour calls for a change to government plans for cuts of 20% on police budgets as he addressed an emergency sitting of the House of Commons following the widespread riots across England. A rarely found unity in the House of Commons evaporated when the prime minister stuck to his belief that the cuts were “totally achievable” and should not affect the number of police officers on the streets.
Mr. Cameron said “What we are saying: over the next four years we are looking for cash reductions in policing budgets. Once you take into account the fact there is a precept, that helps fund the police, [the actual cash reduction of 6% over the next four years] is totally achievable without any reductions in visible policing. A growing number of police chiefs are making that point.
“Today we still have 7,000 trained police officers in back office jobs. Part of our programme of police reform is about freeing up police for frontline duties. That is why I can make this very clear pledge to the house. At the end of this process of making sure our police budgets are affordable we will still be able to surge as many police on to the streets as we have in recent days in London, in Wolverhampton, in Manchester. I do think it is important people understand that.”
There has been complete resistance to the Labour Party’s appeals for this strategy to be reviewed. The LibDems have said that they completely agree with the Conservatives on this matter and that their is complete consensus on the matter within the coalition.
Ironically, the number of police officers that will be lost because of the cuts is reckoned to total 16,000 – the same number of officers that it took to quell the riots in London.