PCC to Chancellor – “You still have time – Do the right thing”
Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, Martyn Underhill, has today written to the Chancellor pointing out that he still has time to "do the right thing" in relation to police funding in the light of the Paris attacks.
The Chancellor will announce the Government's Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) this Wednesday and will detail spending allocations for policing over the term of this Parliament.
Mr Underhill said: "My views on anything between a 20% to 40% cut to police funding are well known and I have lobbied Ministers consistently not to cut too deep. However, my concerns have increased considerably after the events in Paris. Last week I wrote to our MPs highlighting future security concernsabout our ports, an issue that was also raised by Chris Chope MP in the House last week. But Paris highlights more than that - deep cuts will also impact on neighbourhood policing. Whilst armed police protect us in the event of an attack, neighbourhood policing provides intelligence that helps to prevent one even happening. We know seven attacks have already been foiled this year. The British policing model must be preserved".
In the letter, Mr Underhill welcomed the news that £2 billion is being re-invested in counter-terrorism. However he urged the Chancellor not to raise that money from the policing budget, pointing out that often the resources that are used to respond to intelligence are police resources and further cuts to policing will reducethe ability to support that activity.
The PCC finished with a message to the people of Dorset "We are and will remain, one of the safest placesto live. The likelihood of a terrorist attack here is extremely remote and the firearms officers who protect usare dedicated professionals who are highly trained and well equipped. However, be under no illusion, Parishasn't slept for 10 days and if one of our cities faces a Paris style attack it will stretch UK policing resources which are much fewer than France's, requiring mutual aid over an extended period. Paris has been a game changer, policing needs investment and protection, not cuts".