Steve Issues Police Warning After Winsor Review Findings(May 11, 2012)
Steve Rotheram MP, has responded to the Winsor Review findings today and admits he is concerned that the Government are out of touch on law and order.
Steve said, "I am very concerned at the Tory-led government's approach to policing. This government is only interested in cutting police officers and not crime - front loaded cuts of 20% to the police force is leading to the loss of 16,000 officers.
"I voted against Government police cuts in Parliament this year and support Labour's more proportionate cuts plan of 12 per cent - shown by Her Majesty's Inspectorate to be deliverable without impacting on frontline services.
"That is why I supported the march by police officers on May 10 to protest against the Government's 20% cuts and the criminal damage this is doing to policing.
"I am also very worried about the Home Secretary's chaotic reforms to policing.
"Policing clearly needs to be open to reform and innovations like neighbourhood policing have helped to reduce crime by over 40 per cent in recent years. Under Labour there were more officers on the beat, more powers, stronger community partnerships to prevent crime and stronger action to tackle antisocial behaviour.
"We also support further reforms. As the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister have refused to set up a Royal Commission, Labour has asked Lord Stevens, former Metropolitan Police Commissioner to chair an Independent Commission on the Future of Policing and to set out a long term plan for policing in England and Wales.
"We welcome the fact that so many police officers and policing experts across the country have already agreed to contribute. I will happily pass on your correspondence to be considered by the review.
"But instead of building a consensus around positive reforms, David Cameron and Theresa May are continuing to undermine the police force. They have failed to set out a positive vision and policing is facing a perfect storm with the scale of cuts alongside fragmented and contradictory reforms. Instead of working with the police on reform, this Government has been intent on picking a fight and as a result morale has been shattered.
"With regard to the Winsor report there are over 120 recommendations which the Home Secretary has agreed to take forward as a matter of urgency.
"I am of the opinion that the Home Secretary's overall approach, to endorse without question the report, is wrong.
"I think that pay and conditions should be debated to support skills and professional development. And more should be done to promote flexibility and draw police officers from a wide range of backgrounds. We also support proposals for fitness tests, although more support should be provided for officers injured in the line of duty.
"However there are a number of key areas where the Labour Party still has concerns. For example;
- too little consideration has been given to the impact on individual officers especially at a time when pension contributions are going up, and families are already feeling squeezed;
- regional pay is likely to increase costs and create unfairness between officers in neighbouring areas doing the same job;
-- cutting starting salaries and undermining training at the same time as trying to increase the skills and qualifications of police officers is completely contradictory;
-- compulsory severance appears to be being brought in to support another round of unsustainable cuts to police officers in the next spending review.
"I also believe the government is not doing enough to recognise the value of the Office of Constable and the complex mix of skills, judgement and experience that good police officers need.
"Perhaps most concerning of all is the fact that the government is introducing all these changes in a piecemeal and chaotic way with no overall strategy for the future of policing.
"Alongside the scale of cuts, consideration of private contracts to replace core public policing, cuts in police powers and the introduction of police and crime commissioners without proper checks and balances, this Government is doing immense damage to British policing and taking considerable risks with crime. I fear that communities will pay the price.
"I will continue to campaign to support British policing. We want to see the Government act to cut crime not the police."