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.
From HuffPost UK: Karen Lee, Labour’s shadow fire minister, writes…
“The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government James Brokenshire announced on Thursday that the government will ban the use of combustible cladding on new buildings above 18 metres. This follows widespread concerns over revelations that a high number of buildings with combustible materials have still not being identified. It is appalling that we are now 17 months on from the Grenfell Tower fire and lessons still have not been learnt.
“New details of the Conservatives’ cladding ban, combined with industry projections of the number of at-risk buildings which have not been identified, mean that it is unlikely the government’s reforms will go far enough to prevent another Grenfell.
“This may look like a positive step, but the details of the ban barely begin to address the risk posed to many vulnerable communities across the UK. Not only is the ban restricted to specific building types, but also the ban will not be enforced retrospectively and will only apply to new buildings or refurbishments.
“Alongside refusing to address the threats posed by faulty fire regulations, the government has displayed a worrying lack of urgency in removing dangerous cladding. The Tories have repeatedly kicked the issue into the long grass.
From the Daily Mirror: The Government has quietly dropped plans to ban high-powered rifles after Tory Brexiteers and DUP MPs joined forces in defiance of Theresa May.
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 We Own It: “G4S has failed to run Birmingham prison – and the consequences have been disastrous. Let’s stop pretending that we need to have a market for everything. Public services should be in public ownership.”
G4S has failed to run Birmingham prison – and the consequences have been disastrous. Let's stop pretending that we need to have a market for everything. Public services should be in public ownership.
Posted by We Own It on Tuesday, August 21, 2018
From The Observer: The Tory government is breaching fundamental obligations to protect its citizens’ right to life by failing to address the systemic problems that led to the Grenfell Tower tragedy, the UK’s human rights watchdog has warned.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission has written to the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government (DHCLG) outlining its concerns about the continued use of combustible cladding in existing buildings and advising the department of its responsibilities under human rights laws to protect lives.
The watchdog has yet to receive a response from the department, which in June launched a consultation into the use of cladding, believed to be a key factor in the Grenfell disaster.
The commission said it was concerned that the consultation omits any reference to the government’s duty to protect lives under article 2 of the European convention on human rights and schedule 1 to the Human Rights Act 1998.
From The Independent: The Tell Mama project, which monitors anti-Muslim violence, has reported an increase in incidents of abuse aimed at women wearing the niqab or hijab over the past week [since Boris Johnson‘s derogatory comments].
From Morning Star: Firefighters’ leaders have accused the government of ignoring the warning signs of Grenfell, as new figures showed a rise in incidents amid continued fire service cuts.
The Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said that, despite mounting difficulties over the last year, the government continued to “starve” fire authorities of funding.
There were 564,827 incidents in England in the past year, an increase of more than 4,000.
Firefighters attended more than 167,000 fires, the most since 2011-12, said the FBU, adding that the long period of improvements in public safety has plateaued, with cuts the “most likely explanation” for the rise.
The union said that, since 2010, one in five firefighting jobs have been cut, including around 10,000 in Englan
FBU national officer Dave Green said: “These dreadful new figures confirm firefighters’ worst fears. Austerity cuts are now damaging public safety.”
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.
From The Independent: The government must overhaul its “mess” of a botched programme to privatise probation that is failing against every measure and may threaten public safety, MPs have said.
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.
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.