Policing (England and Wales)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:27 pm on 24th February 2020.

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Photo of Diane Abbott Diane Abbott Shadow Home Secretary 6:27 pm, 24th February 2020

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for bringing some reality to the discussion.

The Opposition have learnt that police chiefs have also recently been told to find another £165 million in 2019-20 and up to £417 million in 2020-21 as a result of the overhaul of pension schemes recently announced by the Treasury. We of course support better police pensions, and indeed better public sector pensions in general, but we do so by arguing that they should be properly funded, whereas Ministers want the money to support them to come out of the extra moneys that they are announcing today. The amount provided in the funding settlement to cover the pension changes is nowhere near the amount it will cost the police. There is a real risk that, with this poor beginning, the Government will fail to meet their total recruitment target. I hope that Government Members are taking due note.

Thirdly, I want to question the Government’s entire approach to this matter, because although police numbers are a key factor, they are only one aspect of combating serious and violent crime. The Government’s goal must be to keep our citizens safe, but their track record is abysmal. I know that this set of Ministers like to pretend that the record of the past 10 years has nothing to do with them, but most of the Ministers now in office voted for the police cuts that have been made. This is continuity Toryism, and they are continuity Tories.