Statement on UK Government’s crime plan
The Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert, has welcomed the UK Government’s commitment to tackling crime, as set out in its new Beating Crime Plan, but says that it will not make up for 10 years of real term reductions in government funding.
The new plan sets out a range of initiatives, which includes league tables to compare force’s 101 and 999 answer rates, increased use of tagging to prevent reoffending, and more investment to support vulnerable young people.
However, the Commissioner says that this doesn’t go far enough to make up for the real term cuts policing has faced in recent years. He has also raised serious concerns that putting unrealistic pressures onto front line police officers at a time when demand is high, while at the same time announcing a wage freeze, risks exacerbating a growing mental health problem.
Jeff Cuthbert said: “While I welcome the UK Government’s commitment to tackling crime and to providing extra funding for services that support vulnerable young people, this plan does not make up for the real term reduction in funding from the UK Government policing has experienced over the last 10 years.
“It also contains a number of initiatives that appear not to have been thought through and that risk becoming a real distraction to the big issues facing UK police forces. For example, the government should be working with forces who are struggling to respond adequately to their 101 and 999 responses, not creating ‘league tables’ to compare performance.
“These promises are a distraction at best and, at worse, risk undermining public confidence. They have been announced at the same time as officers and staff are under a huge amount of pressure, and are being told that they are having their wages frozen for another year. There is already a mental health crisis in policing and this risks making it worse.
“We will of course work with the government to ensure that the people of Gwent benefit as best they can from this new plan, but to make the changes we need, and that the public really want to see, we need the UK Government to commit to significant, sustained investment in front line policing and victims services over the long term.”