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False economy is absolutely the point, is it not? The Government do not seem to equate the reduction in crime we had in the last decade, which began under our Government, with the investment in those community safety teams. That brings me to the role of police community support officers, one of the innovations of the Labour Government of which I, for one, am very proud indeed. Under the Government’s plans, they will become an endangered species. We know that they do not enjoy the same employment protection as warranted officers, so no doubt they are worried that they will be the first to go.
One of the gains brought about by PCSOs was that they substituted for warranted officers on lower level duties, such as managing the Remembrance Sunday parades we will see in our constituencies this weekend. Around the country, some of those parades are beginning to be scaled back and even cancelled because there is not sufficient police cover. Is it not a sure sign to the Conservatives that if the police can no longer cover events of such importance to our local communities their cuts have already gone too far?