Thursday, 29 July 2010

The reality of Tory cuts: police abandon localism in West Sussex

Today Sussex Police Chief Constable Martin Richards has announced how he is going to manage the massive cuts imposed on the force by the government - £50m over the next five years, on top of millions slashed from their budget's by the previous Labour administration.

In a nutshell, the thin blue line is going to get a lot thinner, as the force is set to abandon localism, especially in West Sussex.

The two divisions managing policing in the county will be merged into one: a super-sized management unit will centralise decisions about policing in an area stretching from Chichester through Bognor and Worthing, north through Haywards Heath and Crawley to East Grinstead.

At the same time, major crime investigations will share resources - and their management - with the Surrey force.

There is a commitment to saving money by cutting carbon emissions by ten per cent each year - something I've been calling for ever since I took up a seat on the police authority in 2007. I hope annual emission reductions at this level can be sustained.

But any savings this delivers won't be anything like enough to rule out police and PCSOs losing their jobs - and the public noticing a real reduction in local police visibility (and therefore risking a reversal of recent decreases in fear of crime that is keeping many vulnerable residents of the city virtual prisoners in their homes after dark).

The truth is this Tory government talks a good line about giving control of police to local communities but these cuts will make the management of local police more remote than ever: coupled with Gov't plans announced earlier this week to replace police authority members representing local communities with a single US-style sheriff representing all of East Sussex, West Sussex and Brighton and Hove, today's announcement really spells the end of locally-delivered policing in much of Sussex.

No comments:

Post a Comment