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Police Officer Safety

Part of Community Pharmacies – in the House of Commons at 4:36 pm on 2nd November 2016.

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Photo of Brandon Lewis Brandon Lewis Minister of State (Home Office) (Policing and the Fire Service) 4:36 pm, 2nd November 2016

I will take some more interventions in a few moments.

I welcome the work that is being led by chief officers, and by the College of Policing under the leadership of Deputy Chief Constable Andy Rhodes, to consider the broader health and wellbeing of officers who are undertaking a stressful and demanding job on a daily basis. It is encouraging to note that all forces have signed up to the workplace wellbeing charter, and to hear about DCC Rhodes’s work with the charity Mind to give officers better access to the care that they need. Last week I was delighted to meet Gill Scott-Moore, chief executive officer of the Police Dependants’ Trust, to discuss, among other things, the mental health and wellbeing of police officers. Home Office officials will continue to work with those organisations and with the Department of Health, and to consider what more we can do.

There has already been a great deal of talk about resources today. I am proud of the Government’s record on tackling the deficit, and I am clear about the fact that policing has its role to play in meeting that challenge. I remind the House that in 2016-17—notwithstanding what the hon. Member for Hackney North and Stoke Newington may believe—police spending has been protected, and no police and crime commissioners who maximised their precepts have seen a reduction in their cash funding. That is a good deal for policing. Moreover, on top of that protection of direct resource funding for PCCs, counter-terrorism police funding increased in real terms to £670 million in 2016-17, and transformation funding provides an opportunity to invest in digitalisation, a diverse and flexible workforce, and new and more efficient capabilities to tackle cybercrime and other emerging crimes and threats. Ultimately, all decisions about local policing resources and roles are for chief constables, held to account by their directly accountable police and crime commissioners.