Posted by: iangilbert | October 18, 2011

Complacent and out of touch

I usually try to avoid responding to the rubbish circulated by Southend Conservatives, but something that my opponent has posted on his blog has made me extremely angry.

His latest blog post says ‘Police Numbers to Rise’: http://togetherinvictoria.wordpress.com/2011/10/18/police-numbers-to-rise-in-2012/

This is at best very misleading, and some much less polite terms spring to mind. It is typical of the head-in-the-sand attitude that local Conservatives have towards the damage that their government is doing.

The Chief Constable of Essex has said that police numbers in Essex will drop from 3,636 to 3,248 over the next four years. That’s a loss of one in ten full-time, fully-trained police officers. I’m going to take the word of the Essex Police Chief over that of a Tory candidate desperate for votes, and hope that Victoria residents do as well. It’s not just the cuts to police numbers that will damage the fight against crime though. As my colleague Judy McMahon raised at a committee meeting last week, the cuts to the forensic service will significantly hit the Police’s ability to catch criminals. The list goes on.

James Duddridge’s press release that he’s based this blog post is literally true of course, more officers will be designated ‘neighbourhood police’. I welcome the focus on neighbourhood policing and congratulate the Chief Constable in doing that. However, it cannot disguise the fact that we’re losing one in ten police officers over all. Even Iain Roberston, the Tory representative on Essex Police Authority has admitted that will have an effect.

If Mr Thomas had been attended Victoria Ward Neighbourhood Action panels before his new-found interest in the Victoria community, he would know that on many, many occasions, our Neighbhood Police have had to be assigned onto other duties to fill important gaps or respond to major incidents. Anyone who thinks that won’t happen to a much greater extent when we’ve lost one in ten police officers is living in cloud cuckoo land.

It just goes to show that the Conservatives are utterly complacent about the effects of the cuts that they are imposing and out of touch with what’s really happening in our community.

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Responses

  1. Ian, thank you for your first comments on my blog. As you acknowledge there is an increase in police numbers next year. Numbers may fall in the next four years, but i specifically referred to next year. I have no doubt that the effects of cuts will be felt across the community and unfortunately this is something which has to happen. It is about making sure the cuts are in the right place and I have, as I am sure you have also, campaigned where I believe the cuts are in the wrong place and will continue to do so. So to say i am complacent and out of touch is at best misleading and at worst something else. I wish that there was no cuts to be made at all and perhaps if the global financial crisis and the poor mismanagement of the economy hadnt happened under the previous government there wouldnt be any need. (however that is a different argument).

    I feel i have to respond to some of the misleading parts in this blog however. Firstly i was present at the scrutiny committee meeting which Judy raised the issue of forensics with the police officers attending and as you were absent i can excuse your ignorance of the reply she recieved. She was told that all forensics for Essex get sent off to a central place (i forget the name) and that they dont percieve that the cuts will affect this service in a significant way. Those are his words not mine.
    Secondly i have attended the Victoria NAP (and am trying to increase attendance at the next meeting, as i am sure you will agree, this is an important tool for residents) and know that for example our police officers were sent to help out with the recent riots.

    I wish you well in the rest of your campaign and thank you for the opportunity to correct the errors in this blog.

    • Thanks for your comment.

      If you really think that police officer numbers in Essex will rise next year that’s wonderful news, presumably you have some evidence for this, so can you tell me how many officers there will be in Essex in total?


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