Posted by: iangilbert | March 1, 2012

Policing – who was right?

I know my Conservative opponent reads this blog. A few months back we had an argument about police numbers.

He asserted that Police numbers would rise this year. I’ve given him the benefit of the doubt and assumed he really didn’t read James Duddridge’s press release properly and he was really talking about the number of neighbourhood police – I think everyone, including the Chief Constable, is very clear that there will be fewer officers in Essex than there were.

Now I’ve just read the latest update on ‘Operation Blueprint’ from the Chief Constable detailing which officers will be assigned where in terms of neighbourhood police. I count 22 neighbourhood police officers in Southend including the Chief Inspector. It looks like only one in Neighbhourhood PC for each for the town centre wards plus two Sergeants and an Inspector. Looking at the current arrangements on Essex Police website I count 29 officers including the Chief Inspector. Perhaps I’m missing something but going from 29 to 22 officers doesn’t seem like much of an increase to me. From a Victoria Ward perspective it seems we are going from two dedicated neighbourhood PCs down to one.

We all know that that the police are facing massive budget cuts and that the number of police officers overall is shrinking, which is why I found headlines like ‘police numbers to rise’ coming from the Conservatives quite astonishing and rather distasteful. Apart from anything else, I think it’s disrespectful to the remaining police officers who are struggling to cope if we don’t acknowledge just how much additional pressure they are being put under by the Conservative-led government.

Will Mr Thomas publish the exact figures for police numbers on his blog, or will we have to conclude that his claim was false?

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