I certainly agree. I think the method is shambolic.
I turn to broken promises. Let me give a bit of history. In 2011, David Cameron said:
“There is no reason for there to be fewer front-line officers.”—[Official Report,
Vol. 526, c. 335.]
Yet the number of police officers fell by almost 21,000 after he became Prime Minister. The total size of the police workforce has fallen by over 46,000 since 2010. Following a successful campaign from the Labour Benches led by my right hon. Friend Andy Burnham, the former Chancellor, Mr Osborne, told Parliament at the autumn statement in 2015 that
“now is not the time for further police cuts…There will be real-terms protection for police funding.”—[Official Report,
Vol. 602, c. 1373.]
Today’s figures show that he has broken that promise to Parliament. In fact, between 2015-16 and, going forward, 2017-18, the total amount of real-terms Government grants for police forces has fallen by 4.4%. The real-terms cuts we have seen in the past two years come on top of real-terms cuts of £2.3 billion—25%—in the preceding five years, as shown by the National Audit Office.