I agree with my hon. Friend. Of course, on Merseyside we have also seen an alarming rise in knife crime.
Part of the problem is the new demands on policing to which the Home Secretary referred. However, an increasing problem is that, with the collapse of public sector funding elsewhere, the police have become the public service of last resort, particularly in relation to issues such as mental health. We will be debating this later this afternoon, but central Government have taken 60%—£16 billion—out of local government funding since 2010. Cuts to youth services, housing and schools must have a bearing on levels of crime, particularly youth crime.
Let me touch on something that is often not discussed—the problem with having annual funding reviews. Ministers will be aware of the long-standing concern about annual funding. City of London police has said:
“Annualised funding allocations result in short term strategies that deliver short term impact”,
and that they are a constraint. The PCC for Northamptonshire, Stephen Mold, said that that the
“imposition of one year funding settlements…hampers effective long term financial planning”.
And the PCC for Dorset, Martyn Underhill, said that the
“absence of any indication of funding beyond 12 months” compromises the ability to formulate
“a realistic medium term financial plan”.