Our police deserve more funding to keep us safe | Stephen Morgan MP
The ‘levelling up’ agenda has failed, and our public services are facing the consequences of that, but no less so than our local police service.
For more than a decade, the government has presided over a real-terms funding gap in Hampshire Constabulary’s finances, which currently stands at a staggering £21.9m.
Meanwhile, our county currently has the lowest number of police officers per 100,000 than any other police service in the country, so I entirely understand the concerns many constituents have as to how the same level of local service and crime prevention can be delivered.
Sadly, this is also part of a wider picture that we have seen across the country too. The Tories have weakened the foundations of law enforcement during the last decade.
Currently, the government is pushing through the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, but it will do nothing to prevent crime and is a cover for their failed record.
On the Tories’ watch, police are having to deal with record levels of crimes while fewer criminals are being brought to justice. Police numbers hit the lowest level for 30 years after the Tories cut 21,000 police officers.
The unfair funding formula is short-changing Hampshire, meaning our local force is worse off by more than £40m per annum and our communities miss out on a fair share of new police officers, equivalent to around 400 fewer officers than in 2010.
The consequences of all this are obvious for our communities. Since 2016, total recorded crime has increased by 15 per cent, whilst at 39,000 offences, violence made up two fifths of all crimes recorded in the past year.
The Chief Constable recently told our local Police and Crime Panel that underfunding means responses had to be ‘rationed’, suggesting some services may have to be dropped to meet other priorities.
It’s a completely unacceptable position for one of the most densely populated cities in the country to be in. That’s why I am supporting Tony Bunday as our next Police and Crime Commissioner to resolve this.
In a response to my recent letter to the Home Secretary, I was told the funding formula was being reviewed, but we need action now.
Our city deserves far better than this and we can start that journey by voting for a fairer deal for Hampshire to keep our communities safe on Thursday, 6 May.