NEWLY-appointed home secretary Sajid Javid was last night urged to ‘think of Portsmouth’ and bolster police numbers in the area.
Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan welcomed Mr Javid to the role but urged him to pump money into cash-strapped Hampshire police.
In his letter, seen exclusively by The News, Mr Morgan appealed to the home secretary to ‘address the failings’ of previous holders of the role, saying: ‘On the watch of the former home secretary, Hampshire Constabulary had a further £25m slashed from their budget.
‘At a time when crime has increased by 10 per cent in Portsmouth, the constabulary has lost almost 1,000 officers and, as the chair of the Hampshire Police Federation, a serving officer, has said, policing is ‘on its knees’.
‘My city’s streets have seen a rise in break-ins and violent crime, and these cuts are inevitably affecting our police officers’ ability to do their jobs safely and effectively.
‘Yet, Hampshire’s police and crime commissioner has been holding back funds for use in his own office, despite pledges to the contrary. 98 per cent of Hampshire police officers have made it clear, through an unprecedented poll, that they have no confidence in him.
‘I’m sure they, and the people of Portsmouth, would be interested to know whether this dismay is shared by yourself. Your department has previously challenged how much Mr Lane has kept in reserve but regrettably done little about it.
‘I was pleased to hear you state this morning that your first priority as home secretary was keeping the people of our country safe.
‘Surely this necessitates guaranteeing our police forces are properly resourced.
‘Officer numbers are at record lows and, as the thin blue line gets ever-thinner, our city is looking to you to reverse the unprecedented funding cuts of your predecessor.
‘I sincerely hope that you can succeed where your predecessor failed in offering Portsmouth a fairer funding deal to help us deal with rising crime. Our city’s police officers, and the communities they serve, are depending on it.’