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Saturday, Sep 25, 2021

Ministers’ pledge to raise police numbers dismissed as ‘hypocrisy’

Ministers’ pledge to raise police numbers dismissed as ‘hypocrisy’

Labour points to Tory cuts to neighbourhood officers after Boris Johnson unveils policing policies
Ministers have been accused of “hypocrisy that knows no bounds” after Boris Johnson said he would increase efforts to get more police on the street despite having cut the number of frontline officers. The prime minister said the government would “redouble our efforts, to continue to put more police out on the street, and to back them all the way”.

He announced that the government would seek to give every victim of crime “a named officer to call – someone who is immediately on your side”.

In an article for the Sunday Express, he also pledged to publish league tables for 101 and 999 call answering times, put more police into dealing with “the tiny minority of truant kids”, and intensify efforts against county lines drug gangs.

Johnson’s proposal to assign a named officer to deal with every crime was described as a “gimmick” by members of the Metropolitan Police Federation, which represents ordinary officers.

Ken Marsh, chairman of the organisation, said the proposal was unworkable due to staff rotas and holidays: “It doesn’t work that way – you can’t start singularly naming officers because by the sheer nature of their work … If they’re not at work, what happens then?”

Johnson’s intervention comes at a tricky time for relations between the government and the police. Earlier this month, the national Police Federation of England and Wales announced it no longer has confidence in the home secretary, Priti Patel, after she announced that there would be no pay rise for officers this year.

This has led Labour to focus on the issue and seek to make political capital out of the strife.

Nick Thomas-Symonds, Labour’s shadow home secretary, said: “The hypocrisy from this government knows no bounds. It is the Conservatives that decided to cut the number of frontline officers by 21,000, which has hammered neighbourhood policing. Ministers also insulted police officers this week with a zero per cent pay offer. No wonder the Police Federation have no confidence in this home secretary.

“All the while ministers are wasting millions on a pointless vanity yacht. Labour has been clear with its offer of more neighbourhood policing and scrapping the vanity yacht to invest in making our communities safer.”

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