It is now a catastrophe.
The growing number of senior police officers finally finding the courage, strength and honesty in speaking out demonstrates the catastrophe now facing Policing in the UK. Police chiefs are not historically a group of people who panic or use emotive language to exaggerate problems and raise serious concerns. Their role in society is fundamentally to protect the public by effective use of the resources they have, prevent crime and detect offenders. These have been the so called `primary objects` of policing since 1829 and they are still the foundations for policing in the UK. The mere fact that so many senior police leaders are now speaking out, and not just as a parting shot when they are about to retire, is indicative of the move from a crisis into a complete catastrophe and one which will be almost impossible to reverse, without significant funding.
The current government appears to have forgotten their `primary objects` in ensuring the health, safety and protection of their citizens with their austerity measures. The cuts appear to have been primarily focussed on public sector roles and specifically the emergency services who have suffered the most stringent cutbacks and impact on their resources. The repeated mantra from the former architect of the cuts, Theresa May and her willing and copycat successor, Amber Rudd is that there is no more money, stop asking for more, do more with what you have, and it is not about numbers.
The true facts in policing is that more police officers than ever before are leaving the service, more are suffering from mental health issues and more are being assaulted. This is all primarily caused by a huge reduction in police budgets, lower numbers of officers patrolling the streets and an increase in demand as Policing meets some of the demands usually placed on other emergency services.
It really is all about numbers – budget numbers or more bluntly – money, to allow police chiefs to have sufficient resources to provide a safer working environment for the officers and sufficient resources to deal with the numbers of calls to police that now far outweighs the number of officers available.
The government refusal to acknowledge their mistakes and rectify their unsafe and dangerous budgetary policy has singularly and solely contributed to the catastrophe facing the UK Police service.
It really is time for this current government to properly finance and provide sufficient budgets for chief officers to provide the policing the public deserve and demand. The government are playing fast and loose with the protection and safety of the very people they are elected to protect but they are continually failing to provide these very basic needs.
The budget is an ideal time for the government to demonstrate its fundamental role and commitment in providing sufficient funding to all public-sector workers so that the public receive the protection and safety they deserve. Policing is just one aspect but equally, the health service and fire service need and deserve similar investment. Instead of increasing billions of pounds to satisfy the demands of those in the EU to agree our exit, this funding should be directed to services which will most benefit the citizens of the UK.
For the Police service, they are on the precipice of a catastrophe which, without sustained and increased budgets, may take years to recover from if they are ever able to do so.