Imagine if somebody broke your windows and left you with no option but to board them up as best you could. Then a few years later, they tell you that they will gradually put those windows back in, pretending that it wasn’t them who got rid of them in the first place. To add insult to injury, they then tell you that you should be grateful for the fantastic new windows that you will soon have.
This would, of course, be ridiculous – firstly that anybody ever took away the windows that you need and secondly that they would then expect you to thank them for putting them back in. As unlikely a scenario as this is, it’s exactly the approach that the Tories have taken to policing over the past 9 years.
In this time, they have taken billions of pounds out of police funding, leading to thousands fewer police officers keeping us safe. Under the last Labour Government, there were about 22,500 more police officers in England and Wales than today. Under the Tories, the number of Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) has also been cut by 40%.
For a long time many Tory politicians – notably former Prime Minister Theresa May – tried to deny that these cuts had any link with rising crime rates (violent crime went up 14% and overall crime was up 7% this year for example). You don’t have to have a doctorate in criminology to see how ridiculous this argument is.
The result of all this has been people and communities feeling less safe, with less police presence on the streets and millions of crimes going without investigation. Figures released earlier this year showed that 43% of crimes in Greater Manchester are not fully investigated because the Government have deprived police of the resources that they need.
So Boris Johnson is promising more police. But when you hear him make this claim, don’t forget that the numbers don’t even replace those we’ve lost. Not only that, the extra funding promised is only a third of what was cut and that 7,000 of the promised new officers won’t be on the frontline – despite the Prime Minister saying they’d be “on the streets”.
Whatever he might want people to believe, I for one will not forget that Boris Johnson (and the rest of his cabinet) repeatedly voted for cuts to the police – that means voting against our fantastic police officers and for communities that are less safe.
The Tories want people to believe that they are the party of law and order, but I think you’ll agree that their record speaks for itself.