Police Grant Report

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:31 pm on 5th February 2019.

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Photo of Nick Hurd Nick Hurd The Minister of State, Home Department 4:31 pm, 5th February 2019

During this vigorous debate, I have clung to the message from Her Majesty the Queen about the need, in these divided times, to try to seek the common ground. That is relevant because when the Home Secretary and I spoke recently with a group of senior police leaders, billed as the leaders of tomorrow, one of the questions from the floor was, “Do you see common ground between the political parties about the future of policing?” The question was asked hoping for the answer yes. Listening to this debate, I asked myself what that police officer, who may end up leading a force, would have thought of this debate if she had had the time to watch it, which of course she does not.

She would have heard a common voice across the House with MPs going out of their way to express their personal admiration and thanks to their forces. That was the case with my hon. Friends the Members for South West Bedfordshire (Andrew Selous), for Nuneaton (Mr Jones) and for South Dorset (Richard Drax), Mr Howarth, my hon. Friends the Members for Waveney (Peter Aldous) and for Boston and Skegness (Matt Warman), the hon. Members for Newport East (Jessica Morden) and for Redcar (Anna Turley), the right hon. Members for Kingston and Surbiton (Sir Edward Davey) and for North Durham (Mr Jones), and Ruth George.

She would have heard a recognition across the House of changing demand on the police, with cyber-crime, county lines, child sexual exploitation and the critical issue of the increasing amount of time that our police officers are spending with people in crisis and suffering from mental health problems. Again, that was recognised by Members from across the House. My hon. Friend the Member for South West Bedfordshire, my right hon. Friend Sir Desmond Swayne, my hon. Friends the Members for Nuneaton and for South Dorset, Mike Hill, my hon. Friend Tracy Brabin all talked about that.

She would have heard a determination across the House to bear down on this horrendous increase in knife crime. Wes Streeting again did the House a service by reminding us that beneath the statistics are terrible human stories of shattered families. The hon. Members for Norwich South (Clive Lewis) and for Birmingham, Edgbaston (Preet Kaur Gill) reminded us that this is not a London issue but a national challenge.

She would also have heard a recognition from across the House that a lot needs fixing in the CSR in how funding is allocated across the police system. We heard that from MPs from many different places across the country, such as my hon. Friend the Member for South West Bedfordshire, the right hon. Members for North Durham and for Knowsley, my hon. Friend Mr Seely in relation to Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, my hon. Friends the Members for Nuneaton, for Waveney, for Bury St Edmunds (Jo Churchill) from a sedentary position, and for Boston and Skegness, the hon. Members for Newport East and for Batley and Spen, and most of the west midlands MPs.

That is where the common ground lies. Of course, there are also divisions. There are irreconcilable divisions on decisions taken in 2010 in response to the crisis in the public finances.