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North Yorkshire Police face 5 million pounds of cuts


8:08am 9th February 2012

Hugh Bayley, MP for York Central, intervened in the debate in the House of Commons yesterday (Wednesday 8 February) to set government grants to the police.  Nick Herbert, the Minister for Policing, claimed that crime is coming down, but Mr Bayley pointed out that government figures show this is not the case in York.

Mr Bayley read out figures given to him by the Government in answer to his Parliamentary Question, which show that the total number of crimes in York is rising.  Total crime recorded by the police in York in the last year of the previous Labour Government was 14,480 offences, but this figure rose to 15,199 in 2010-11, the first year of the Coalition Government.  Home Office figures obtained by Mr Bayley, which are attached below, show that burglary of non-residential premises increased by 19% in this period; burglary in a dwelling by 9%; and other thefts by 10%.

Despite this rise in crime, the Government is cutting its grant to North Yorkshire Police for 2012/13 by more than £5 million and North Yorkshire Police Force are likely to have 1,411 Police Officers in 2012/13, falling to 1,300 by 2015/16. 

North Yorkshire Police confirmed to Hugh Bayley in an email of 20 September 2010 that the number of Police Officers in North Yorkshire increased under the Labour Government from 1,367 in 1997 to 1,509 by 31 August 2010.  This was an increase of 142.

Mr Bayley also intervened during the speech made yesterday by Labour's Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper, to argue that there is a strong relationship between the size of police forces and national crime rates by making the point that additional police officers under the Labour Government gave the police the resources they needed to get crime to come down in North Yorkshire; whereas during the last Conservative Government, when North Yorkshire received no increase in the number of Police Officers, crime in the county almost trebled.

This argument is further supported by figures published by the Home Office on 26 January 2012 which show that under the Coalition Government, rising crime figures nationally have been matched by a fall in police numbers to their lowest for a decade, including the loss of 54 from North Yorkshire since March 2010.  There are now 8,000 fewer officers on UK streets, at a time when personal crime, which includes theft and violence, has gone up by a startling 11 per cent.

Hugh Bayley is concerned that the Government's cuts to North Yorkshire's police budget will seriously undermine the ability of police to counter the increase in crime in York since the Coalition came to power.  Mr Bayley and his Labour Party colleagues voted against the Government's cuts to Police Grants but the cuts were voted through by Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs.  Mr Bayley's interventions in yesterday's debate can be read below:

Hugh Bayley (York Central) (Lab):

A few minutes ago, the Minister said that the crime figures were not rising, but in York they are. According to an answer from his junior Minister, the figure for York in the last year of the previous Labour Government was 14,480; it rose in the first year of the Conservative Government to 15,199. What, therefore, is the Minister's strategy in areas such as mine, where he is cutting £5 million from our local police force budget, even though we need additional resources to counter the increase in crime since the Conservatives came to power?

Nick Herbert:

I did say that there were areas of concern that forces would have to attend to. Overall, the figures were clear that recorded crime is down. If other forces are working within the available resources, why does the hon. Gentleman assume that the solution is to increase resourcing in his area? Perhaps the solution is better policing, better partnership and a focus on driving down crime in those areas. The question he must ask is: if other forces and areas are doing it and have had the same level of funding reductions, why cannot his?

Hugh Bayley:

Under the previous Conservative Government the North Yorkshire police received not one single additional police officer, and crime in our county almost trebled. Under the Labour Government there were dozens and dozens of additional police officers-more than 140-and crime started to come down. Now the police numbers are down by almost 100 and crime is rising again. Surely that makes the case.

Yvette Cooper:

My hon. Friend is right that we had thousands more police officers under the Labour Government. We also had a historic 40% reduction in crime.
The Conservative party used to get it. Here is what the Prime Minister himself wrote in the 2005 election manifesto for the Conservative party:

"Put more police on the streets and they'll catch more criminals. It's not rocket science, is it?"

Hugh Bayley MP says:

"It is deeply disappointing that at a time when crime is rising in York, the Government is cutting the number of Police Officers in North Yorkshire.  This is not the way to cut crime and there is a real danger that crime will continue to spiral upwards, as it did last time the Tories were in power.  It is easy for a government to take its eye off the ball, as they are doing with the police, but it costs much more in the long run to get the crime figures under control again.  

Every extra crime means another victim who is left counting the cost.  I voted against the police cuts, but they were carried by Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs who voted through the worst funding settlement for the police in North Yorkshire in decades".

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