Portsmouth City Council vows to fight £3.6m policing cuts

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PORTSMOUTH councillors are taking a stand against cuts of more than £3m to Hampshire police.

At a full council meeting this week they voted unanimously to write to home secretary Sajid Javid demanding the cuts be reconsidered.

Reading the motion put forward by former councillor Lee Hunt, council leader Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: ‘The city council notes the decision of the government to cut funding to Hampshire police by £3.67m for next year.

‘Also not to provide any funding to cover inflation, this makes it a real terms cut of £7m to Hampshire police by the government. The city council condemns this decision and believes this will make local residents in Portsmouth less safe and will mean real cuts to the police.’

Although the motion passed without opposition some were concerned it didn’t come to full council months ago when it was first proposed.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson added: ‘I am pleased we have a cross-party view. I am disappointed this wasn’t allowed to be debated by the Tory party. I hope that now we will be able to write to the home office and have our point made.’

Lib Dem Cllr Leo Madden agreed. He said: ‘I thought it was a simple matter. I was quite surprised when it was taken to a one party meeting before.

‘We are here to represent the concerns that people raise with us. I am disappointed that we have had to put this back.

‘It is hardly revolutionary, we’re not talking about building the barricades. It’s just to tell them about our concerns about cuts to Hampshire police.’

But former leader of the council and Tory leader Cllr Donna Jones explained why it wasn’t taken to full council before. She said: ‘I am delighted that this is back today. The reason we stopped it was because we wanted to be able to do future research on the cuts and funding issues. I am pleased to confirm that letter was sent and it was strongly worded.

‘I also met with the chief constable and also travelled to the home office to meet with MP Nick Hurd. We discussed the interests of the city. He acknowledged the great work we have done. I think it is important that we do work cross-party on this.’

She added: ‘The letter was sent just before the first meeting. I will share it with the whole council.’

The £3.67m figure would be the amount cut from a central government grant. In total Hampshire Constabulary has been told by government that they need to save around £24.75m in the next four years.