The announcement this week of a further of extra Police Officers for Devon and Cornwall is to be welcomed. 181 Police Officers ,22 call centre staff and 29 civilian investigators. If we look behind those figures which the Commissioner is classing as “front line “staff 40 Police officers are to be funded by a rise in the council tax policing precept, the investigators have no powers of arrest and phone operators can hardly be classified as “front line”
The rise in the council tax precept will take such increases to 37% in the last five years and will put a £14.92p on a band D property taking it to £236.28 annually. If all officers had been funded by central government if would have come out of general taxation. We should not forget that especially in the pandemic lower income families are struggling and this precept will add to their burden.
We must be reminded that successive Conservative governments have cut funding over the last 10 years taking over 500 officers from our Constabulary. For this Government to claim credit for promising an extra 22,000 police officers over 5 years is like an arsonist claiming credit for ringing the fire brigade after setting fire to a house when it is partially burnt down.
The four Inspectorates for Criminal Justice, Police, CPS, Prisons and Probation have all highlighted the damage done to all four by successive underfunding. There is a budget due soon and given the millions spent on pandemic issues and rightly so, but will this have an effect on funding for the overall criminal justice system?
Brian Blake Lib Dem Candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner