Historically, crime levels have fallen over many years. That has been continuous since 1995, throughout my time in the House of Commons. The key question for the hon. Gentleman is how we develop that in future. Policing is, in part, about catching criminals and solving crime, but it is also about community reassurance and many other areas—dealing with floods, policing football matches, crowd control and policing demonstrations. None of those is about policing crime. Part of the reason why crime is falling is that the Labour Government did good work in bringing together probation, prisons and policing to look at reducing the number of serious offenders. The number of first-time offenders going into the system fell under Labour, as did the number of offences per person. There are a range of issues; I just worry about potential difficulties arising downstream.
Again, however, the hon. Gentleman does not need to listen to me. Earlier the Minister mentioned the new head of the College of Policing, so let me give him a quotation from the head of the College of Policing, from a BBC News story on
“Hampshire’s outgoing chief constable has warned further cuts to budgets could seriously impact police services. Alex Marshall oversaw a reduction of more than 800 posts” in his force,
“but said more major cuts would be ‘very difficult’.”
The Minister’s Government have just appointed that person to the College of Policing, so it is not just me and Conservative and Labour police and crime commissioners who are raising those concerns. It is professional police officers as well.