letter to the DE Editor

Dear Editor,

Reference your story of 29th December – HAMPSHIRE and Isle of Wight police could receive a windfall of more than £20m in the next financial year.

If delivered this would indeed be good news and people in Hampshire and the IOW will be deeply aware of how desperately needed this investment is.   However, local police investment has been poor for 10 years, with Hampshire officially being the second worst funded police force in the country.  It will not restore our Force to the level of real terms funding and investment it had in 2010.   Even if it did, that would only be part of the story.

There are significantly more demands on our police with from increases in many crime, increased awareness of others, and raised expectations from the public.  The police are also now the new front line picking up on the deficits and problems in many other services caused by austerity.    Mental health and youth services being two of many examples.   Other parts of our system are severely compromised.   Our Prisons are in crisis and our Probation Service is still in recovery from a disastrous ideologically driven privatisation that had to be reversed at the cost of £500m.  All massively undermining rehabilitation and the management of offenders.  Let us not forget – this all leads to more crime, AND more victims!

On top of all this, Police moral is also at an all time low.    Staff salaries are some 20% less than 10 years ago and the working conditions are reported as far less rewarding.   We can still recruit officers but, very worryingly, there is currently an all time high of officers leaving after five+ years of service.   This represents a significant loss of a very large investment.

Let’s welcome any investment.  But please put it in context.   There is a very, very long way to go.

Tony Bunday.

Southampton resident and Labour and Co-operative candidate for the Hampshire and IOW Police and Crime Commissioner.

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