Cameron “ignorant or disingenuous” on frontline police cuts

In the Commons today, David Cameron reiterated his claim that cuts to police budgets would not affect front-line officers. But the facts do not support him.

In the Commons today, David Cameron reiterated his claim that cuts to police budgets would not affect front-line officers. But the facts do not support him.

Earlier today, the Prime Minister told the Commons that “cash reductions” in police budgets were “totally achievable without any reductions in visible policing”. He went on to say that:

“We will still be able to surge as many police officers on to the streets as we have in recent days in London, Wolverhampton and Manchester.”

During last year’s election, Cameron promised not to cut “frontline spending“. But as IPPR’s Matt Cavanagh explains on Labour Uncut:

“To justify his assertion that the cuts will not affect the front line, or visible patrolling, Cameron chose to discuss his own local force, Thames Valley. This choice was either ignorant, or disingenuous.

“A glance at the graph on page 22 of the HMIC report shows the difference in the scale of the challenge faced by Thames Valley Police, in trying to protect the front line from spending cuts, compared to those forces who have been dealing with the riots, including the West Midlands, Greater Manchester, and Merseyside. Thames Valley Police would have to reduce their non-front-line officers by just under 50%, in order to avoid cutting into the front line. That is challenging, but arguably possible. By contrast, the West Midlands, Greater Manchester, and Merseyside forces would have to cut their non-front-line officers by 100%. Even those who hold the simplistic view that almost all ‘back office’ jobs are unnecessary would have to admit that to cut at this level without affecting front line police numbers is simply impossible.”

The graph in question is here.

Supporting Cavanagh’s analysis, Channel 4’s fact check concluded last month that, “lower budgets do mean lower numbers of police officers. Officer numbers are expected to drop 11 per cent in four years and although it is holding up well, even the hallowed frontline will be 2 per cent thinner by next year.”

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