From the Daily Mirror: Tory Police Minister Nick Hurd has admitted that police cuts are a “factor” driving Britain’s rocketing knife crime.
From the Morning Star: Cash-strapped councils have slashed their crime prevention budgets by more than half since the Tories went into government, according to new Labour analysis published today.
Spending on these services fell from £363 million to £154m between 2009/10 and 2017/18 – a cut of almost 60 per cent.
Fifteen of the 20 local authorities with the largest cuts to these services over the past eight years are Conservative controlled.
Over the same period, the number of council employees working on strategies to reduce local crime – such as burglary, fraud, violence, and anti-social behaviour – has fallen by more than a third.
Public trust in policing ‘breaking down’ as forces struggle to respond to crime because of cuts, MPs say
From The Independent: Public confidence and trust in police is “breaking down” as forces struggle to respond to crime because of government cuts, MPs have said.
From The Guardian: Police chiefs in England and Wales will take legal action in the high court against the Tory government unless it backs down on plans to deduct hundreds of millions of pounds from their budgets.
The unprecedented decision was taken by the National Police Chiefs Council, which sent a formal letter to the Treasury saying it will seek a judicial review of the government’s proposals.
It marks a new low in relations between police chiefs and the government. The NPCC represents police chiefs of the 43 local forces in England and Wales, and it has already hired a barrister to seek a judicial order forcing the government to climb down.
The dispute centres on the Treasury’s recalculation of the money each force needed to pay into the police pension scheme. This landed forces with a £420m bill, on top of the 19% cut in police funding since 2010.
Police chiefs say the reductions have left forces struggling to protect the public. Leaders of three of the largest forces estimate the move will leave them with officer levels last seen in the 1970s.
From Daily Mirror: Police are at risk of becoming “irrelevant” as neighbourhood presences are stripped back due to Tory cuts, MPs warn today.
From BBC News: Tory ministers do not know the impact that funding cuts have had on police forces, the UK’s public spending watchdog says.
According to the National Audit Office, the Home Office does not know whether the police system in England and Wales is “financially sustainable”.
It calls the approach to police funding “ineffective” and “detached” from the changing demands faced by officers.
The Home Office had not even forecast the effect of losing 44,000 police officers and staff since 2010, the NAO said.
Since September 2009 – the last set of Home Office figures before the Conservatives came into government – there has been a cut of 22,424 police officers.
On Monday, the leader of the superintendents’ association warned the service was on the verge of a crisis.
From Private Eye:
Police cuts: Loss of 7,000 neighbourhood officers in three years ‘putting public at risk’, Labour warns
From The Independent: The public has been put at risk by the loss of a staggering 7,000 neighbourhood police officers in just three years, Labour has warned.
From Daily Mirror: Rats and cockroaches ran free in HMP Birmingham as blood, vomit and excrement lay unattended and fearful staff locked themselves away in their offices.
From The Guardian: The Ministry of Justice has been warned that failings at a privately run Birmingham prison reflect a broader prison crisis, as overcrowding and dwindling resources lead to increases in violence, drug use and self-harm in jails across England and Wales.
HMP Birmingham was dramatically taken from the control of outsourcing giant G4S and returned to public governance on Monday after a damning inspection that uncovered rife drug abuse, violence and filthy conditions at the jail.
Earlier this year, the high number of deaths at the prison, including suicides and drug overdoses, came under scrutiny.
A 14-hour riot involving at least 500 prisoners in December 2016 has been cited as a pivotal point in the jail’s deterioration, although a separate investigation published on Monday revealed problems at the jail had been escalating for months prior to the disturbance.
Chronic staff shortages contributed in part to a breakdown in authority and increasing instability ultimately led to prisoners policing themselves, the investigation found.
Richard Burgon, the shadow justice secetary, called for a temporary ban on further privatisation of the justice sector. “Once again we see the dangerous consequences of the ever-greater privatisation of our justice system,” he said.
From Daily Mirror: The “explosion” in violence in Britain’s jails has been blamed squarely on Tory cuts by the nation’s chief inspector.
From Daily Mirror: Britain should build youth clubs to combat the rise in knife crime, Labour says.
From The Independent: Private probation companies are being bailed out for a second time as the Tory government prepares to scrap “catastrophic” contracts two years early.
From The Independent: The number of prison officers resigning from their jobs has more than doubled in the last two years amid soaring levels of violence and self-harm in UK jails, The Independent can reveal.
Met Police chief: It would be “naive” to think police cuts haven’t contributed to rise in violent crime
From The Independent: The head of the Metropolitan Police has said it would be “naive” to think cuts to the number of rank-and-file officers had failed to have an impact on the rising levels of violent crime.
From YMCA: Youth services have become the ‘go to’ budget for cuts as local authorities do not recognise the long-term benefits to young people, YMCA has warned, after an analysis shows spending across these services in England and Wales has fallen by 61% over the past six years.
YMCA England & Wales, which supports 33,560 young people through youth work and youth services every year, today released its analysis of local authority spending on youth services, revealing it had reduced by more than £750m since 2010/11 across England and Wales.
Young people in the West Midlands and the North West have been among the hardest hit, with local authorities in the West Midlands cutting spending by 71% since 2010/11, while the North West saw cuts of 68%. Local authorities in London, which have faced criticism following the rise in recent knife crime among young people, have cut spending on youth services by 59% since 2010/11.
Britain’s prison crisis caused by ‘poor political decisions’ by Conservatives and huge cuts, says former head of jails
From The Independent: The former head of the prison service has accused the Tory justice secretary, David Gauke, of attempting to shift blame for violence and disorder in British prisons from his own government to the spread of former legal highs among prisoners.
From The Guardian: Government cuts to the police “may have encouraged” violent offenders and have “likely contributed” to a rise in serious violent crime, leaked Home Office documents have revealed.
The documents cast doubt on claims by the home secretary, Amber Rudd, on Sunday that cuts to the police were not to blame for rising violence.
The row over funding for the police threatens to overshadow the government’s new anti-violence strategy. Since the Conservatives came to power in 2010 police budgets have been cut, and officer numbers have fallen by more than 20,000. Labour and the police have claimed funding reductions have jeopardised public safety.
Figures released in November showed a 20% annual rise in gun, knife and serious violent crime across England and Wales.
Polly Toynbee writes in The Guardian… Another young person killed in the escalating epidemic of violence. The cause? Take your pick.
The right blames Theresa May for easing up on stop and search for weapons – though she knew there is no evidence that it catches or deters, while it fuels anti-police anger. Others suggest decriminalising drugs would destroy the trade that underpins this mayhem.
Unless you think nothing works, shutting down most youth services, including successful programmes to tackle gang violence, was always likely to ricochet back. Youth services went first in the post-2010 slash-and-burn of council budgets. The young poor were early targets for all benefits cuts: their education maintenance allowance went – up to £30 a week for 16- to 19-year-olds from lowest-income families to keep them in education, covering travel, lunches, books and pocket money. Their families lost child tax credits, child benefit and housing benefit, and were often forced to move and move again.
Causes are always complex – but does anyone think those cuts had zero effect on young teenagers turning to gangs, drug-dealing and local identity wars, seeking a fleeting sense of respect as so much was taken away?
From the Daily Mirror: A total of 6,853 police officers and PCSOs were axed from local policing units between 2015 and 2017, according to a Labour analysis of Home Office figures.